Liked him or not, Steve Irwin made a big impression on anyone that watched his programs. Some deemed him insanely out of control as he wrestled with crocodiles, and tangled with snakes. Others would call him fearless and a defender of the animal kingdom.
I hadn't seen his programs in years, but hearing the news of his death at a relatively young age saddened me. To me he was a spokesperson for the creatures who didn't have a way to communicate with the humans, the real threats to ecology. He came across as brash, but his honest and sincere love and respect for the animals were always evident in his words and actions.
No, he didn't teach me to love crocodiles, snakes, or sharks, but watching him interact with these ferocious creatures, taught me to respect them and view them as a necessary part of our planet that should be preserved and left alone to carry out their intended functions.
While his death is sad, it is noteworthy that he had a big positive impact on many humans and animals alike. He died doing what he loved and left this world admired by millions. Surely, there aren't too many people that can achieve that kind of distinction. The animal kingdom has lost one of its greatest advocates, and his boots won't be easy to fill.
crocodile hunter,steve irwin