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Steve Irwin's Family Decline State Funeral
Father pays tribute to "best mate"
Michael Clough (clough)     Print Article 
Published 2006-09-07 00:45 (KST)   
Bob Irwin, the father of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, has spoken publicly for the first since his son's death to thank the millions of fans of the adventurer for their support and wishes.

In an impromptu press conference held at Australia Zoo, which Irwin Sr. had started and built an empire around, he spoke with admiration of the son he described as his "best mate."


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"Steve and I weren't like father and son, we were good mates. I'll remember Steve as my best mate ever," Mr Irwin said.

"Over the years Steve and I have had a lot of adventures together and there's been many occasions when anything could have gone wrong. Steve knew the risks involved with the type of work he was doing and he wouldn't have wanted it any other way."

"There's never been anybody else that I know of that had the personality Steve had and the strength and the conviction of what he believed in and his message was conservation," Mr Irwin said of his son.

Steve Irwin developed his love of wildlife and nature from his father, and it was this common interest that was the basis of the strong bond between father and son

"That was when the mateship started right back when he was six, seven, eight years old, we used to go out into the bush and not doing anything in particular - just go out into the bush and it is something I will never forget," Mr Irwin recalled.

Australia Zoo, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has become an unofficial shrine to Steve Irwin, with flowers and messages of support surrounding the grounds. Mr. Irwin also spoke on behalf of the family to thank all in the public who had the family in their thoughts and prayers

"All I can do is thank them sincerely for their thoughts and their wishes," Mr. Irwin said.

When asked about how Terri, Steve's wife was coping after the loss of her husband, Mr Irwin replied, "Terri's holding up very well considering, she's extremely concerned for her children, Bindi and Robert, obviously and that's the reason I ask the media to give them a break, for the children's sake."

Mr. Irwin also revealed that the family had respectfully declined the offer from the Queensland government of a state funeral, although Terri would have the final say.

"The state funeral would be refused because he is an ordinary guy, he is just an ordinary bloke and he wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke," Mr Irwin said.

Queensland Premier Peter said that he would respect the family's position but hoped that a lasting memorial to Steve Irwin could be found.

"At an appropriate time we'll look at some way of permanently acknowledging his contribution to both the environment and the tourism industry," Mr Beattie said.

Peter Beattie had said in the hours after the death of Mr Irwin that his government would discuss a state funeral with the family at an appropriate time.
"But as I've said right from the beginning on these matters, we will only do it with the blessing of the family because, after all, they are the ones who have gone through this pain," Mr Beattie said

At the time of this writing no funeral arrangements had been finalized.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Michael Clough

  Linked Story - TV's 'Crocodile Hunter' Dies in Stingray Attack...
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