CELEBRITY

WATCH: Bindi Irwin’s heartbreaking tribute to father Steve at his 2006 funeral

The rare footage is incredibly touching.
Loading the player...

Bindi Irwin has posted a touching tribute to her late father Steve on the 13th anniversary of his death.

Just two months after getting engaged to her long-time partner Chandler Powell, the 21-year-old shared a clip of her speaking at her father’s memorial at Australia Zoo in 2006.

WATCH: Bindi Irwin’s tribute to Steve Irwin during his 2006 funeral

The young star was only eight years old when her beloved dad passed away unexpectedly. 

On September 4, 2006, Steve was killed from a stingray attack. He was filming in shallow waters in the Great Barrier Reef when a short-tail stingray stabbed him in the chest with its barb. 

Bindi, Terri and Rob Irwin at Steve's funeral in 2006
Bindi, Terri and Bob Irwin at Steve’s funeral in 2006 (Credit: Getty)

In the eulogy, a brave Bindi said: “My Daddy was my hero. He was always there for me when I needed him. He listened to me and taught me so many things, but most of all he was fun. 

“I know that Daddy had an important job. He was working to change the world so everyone would love wildlife like he did. He built a hospital to help animals and he bought lots of land to give animals a safe place to live.

“He took me and my brother and my Mum with him all the time.

“We filmed together, caught crocodiles together and loved being in the bush together. I don’t want Daddy’s passion to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did.

“I have the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day. When I see a crocodile I will always think of him and I know that Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all animals. Daddy made this place his whole life and now it’s our turn to help Daddy.”

Bindi speaking at Steve's memorial in 2006
Bindi speaking at Steve’s memorial in 2006 (Credit: Getty)

According to cameraman and close friend to Steve, Justin Lyons, they were in the Great Barrier Reef filming for a documentary series called Ocean’s Deadliest when the freak accident happened. The pair went off on an inflatable boat to find tiger sharks but instead came upon a 2.4 metre-wide sting ray in chest-deep waters. It is believed that Steve wanted to capture the magnificent creature on film for his daughter’s show, Bindi: The Jungle Girl

Stingrays are believed to be docile creatures that flee rather than attack when they sense predators, so it came as a shock to both Steve and Justin when the animal, according to the latter, “propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds”. Lyons surmounts that the stingray must have thought that Steve was a tiger shark and was merely trying to defend itself.

Steve was stabbed in the heart by the stingray’s sharp barb, which caused him to bleed to death. Justin said the damage to Steve’s heart was “massive”, and even Steve realised that his time had come. As Justin and the other crew were trying to talk him through the ordeal, telling him to think of his kids and to hang on until more help would come, Steve looked up calmly and told Justin, “I’m dying”. Justin believes those were Steve’s last words. 

Justin shared that he was still filming up until Steve passed, but vowed never to release the footage out of respect for his friend.

On July 24, the same day as her 21st birthdayBindi announced her engagement to boyfriend of six years Chandler Powell.

She wrote: “Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. I’m so looking forward to spending our forever together as your wife. Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose and unconditional love. Now let’s get married already!”

While her younger brother Robert took to his Instagram to share a picture with the bride and groom-to-be, captioning it: “I am beyond happy for you two. You are true soulmates and have always been so completely perfect for each other. Love you both and congratulations.”

Terri  wrote how happy the late Steve  would be to hear of his daughters engagement, writing: “I am so very happy, and I know Steve would be too. Congratulations!!” 

Related stories