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Discovery Channel Plans 'Crocodile Hunter' Tributes

Discovery Communications, the television network where Steve Irwin became a star as the "Crocodile Hunter," plans several tributes to Irwin.

Irwin died Monday after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray's serrated, poisonous spine while shooting a show on the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

Irwin's show helped popularize Discovery's Animal Planet channel after it began in 1996, and he made more than 200 appearances on Discovery networks' shows.

"Steve was a larger-than-life force," John Hendricks, Discovery Communications' founder and chairman, said in a news release. "He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us."

Animal Planet will air a tribute to Irwin at 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday and plans to continue airing his programming, including his current show and other projects in post-production, said Maureen Smith, Animal Planet's executive vice president and general manager.

"The entire Animal Planet family is devastated but determined, now more than ever, to see that Steve Irwin's legacy lives on," said Smith.

Discovery will rename the space in front of its Silver Spring, Md., headquarters "The Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden." It will also create the Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund, which it expects to affectionately call "The Crikey Fund," in honor of Irwin's catch phrase.

The fund will support wildlife protection, education and conservation as well as Irwin's Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Australia. It will also contribute to the education of his children, Bindi, 8, and Bob, who will turn 3 in December.