More than 12 years after Steve Irwin‘s tragic death, fans are still wondering what happened to the video showing how he died. On Sep. 4, 2006, The Crocodile Hunter star was stabbed by a stingray in a shocking turn of events. Cameraman Justin Lyons captured the entire incident on camera urging the star to think of his kids, Bindi Irwin and Robert Irwin, and hold on. But, sadly, the attack led to Steve’s death and later his family obtained the video and destroyed all copies.
“I thought, ‘This is going to be a great shot,'” Justin explained to the Los Angles Times in 2014. “It started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes within a few seconds. I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away. I didn’t even know it had caused any damage. It wasn’t until I panned the camera back… Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood.”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
If Steve’s widow, Terri Irwin, has any say in it, fans will not be able to watch the footage of her late husband’s death. “The footage has been the subject of widespread media interest and it was wholly appropriate that we took all possible steps to ensure something of such a personal and tragic nature did not fall into the wrong hands,” Queensland State Coroner Michael Barnes said in a statement. “This is in line with the wishes of the Irwin family.”
Of course, that hasn’t stopped fan interest in wanting to witness the last moments of Steve’s life. A video of his alleged death was uploaded to YouTube in 2008 and received over 16 million views.
“He calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying.’ And that was the last thing he said… those were his final words,” Justin continued. “It was shocking. It was probably always going to be something weird with Steve… it would always be a crazy, silly accident. And as it turns out that’s exactly what it was.”