Even though she only had him for eight years of her life, Bindi Irwin is thankful for the lessons her late dad, Steve Irwin, taught her. In honor of what would have been the great Crocodile Hunter’s 57th birthday, the 20-year-old took to Instagram on Friday, February 22 to share an adorable throwback alongside a sweet message for her amazing father.

“Thank you for always being my guiding light,” Bindi captioned a photo of Steve holding baby Bindi in one arm as he held a koala in the other. The touching photo immediately evoked emotions from fans who began to reminisce on all the special things that Steve had accomplished in his short lifetime. Take a look at Bindi’s tribute to her dad, Steve, below!

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Thank you for always being my guiding light. ❤️

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

“All these years later and I still love and remember him for making my childhood better, happy birthday,” one user wrote in the comment section. “Happy birthday to the legend! Thanks to Steve for teaching me at a young age to love and respect ALL animals,” said another.

The famed Australian zookeeper tragically passed away in September 2006 after he was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while he and his cameraman Justin Lyons were exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Since Steve’s sudden death, his family — the fearless animal lover was married to Terri Irwin, who he had kids Bindi and Robert Irwin, 15, with — not only keeps his memory alive, but they make sure his legacy is never forgotten. 

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While visiting the set of Australia’s 9Now earlier today, Bindi candidly opened up about how her late dad still inspires her. “He was the greatest wildlife warrior to have ever lived,” the brunette beauty gushed. “He dedicated his whole life to protecting wildlife and wild places.” And he most certainly did.

Even though Steve is missed by friends, family and fans alike, Bindi insisted that Steve’s birthday be about remembering and not being sorrowful. “I think that it’s really special that in this day we can all remember that khaki is not just a color, it’s an attitude,” she said. “And to remember the greatest dad on the planet and a wonderful conservationist.” We miss you, Steve!