Rest in peace, Crocodile Hunter.

I don't mean to be insensitive, but it was only a matter of time before we would be reading headlines like those we woke up to on Labor Day, which announced the death of conservationist and wildlife crusader Steve Irwin.

The Australian, best known from television as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday when he was pierced through the heart by a stingray off the Great Barrier Reef while filming an underwater documentary.

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I didn't know Mr. Irwin, but as so many of his family, friends and fans know, if Steve Irwin had to die at the young age of 44, this is probably how he'd have wanted to go.

Irwin had such a passion for wildlife that he always put his personal safety on the shelf.

You may recall the heat he took a few summers ago when he fed a crocodile with one hand while holding his newborn baby in the other at his Australian zoo.

Not so bright, you might say, but Irwin didn't see the big deal. To him, crocodiles were part of his world, and by default, his family's.

But as the saying goes, "Don't fool with Mother Nature."

Never mind that the saying was made popular by a commercial for butter. As so many people have found out the hard way, it's a true statement.

Remember "Grizzly Man," the documentary that followed Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard as they lived among grizzly bears in Alaska?

To make a long story short, they were killed by their subjects. Audio of their grisly deaths was caught on tape.

Mr. Irwin's death was recorded, and you can be sure you'll have an opportunity to see it — if not on television, then definitely on YouTube.

Again, it's probably what Irwin would have wanted.

Some people are fearless. Irwin was one of them.

How many among us would confront the world's wildest animals with his bare hands to satisfy his curiosity, and in filming such episodes, the curiosities of millions of people who marveled at his fearlessness?

But let's face it, folks — how many of us watched this guy to see just how close he would come to death?

Well, tragically, that episode's finally in the can.

While Irwin will be remembered for the wonderful work he did for Australia's wildlife (he didn't just use wild animals for his own fame), he will forever be known as that guy who used to wrestle with crocodiles on television.

He'll forever be remembered as the Crocodile Hunter, and we'll miss him.

He is survived by his wife Terri, originally of Eugene, Ore., their daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and their famous son, Bob, who will turn 3 in December.

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