Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Irwins Turn Down State Funeral

Wednesday Sep 6 14:19

AESTSteve Irwin's family doesn't want a state funeral despite the international outpouring of emotion following his death this week in a freak marine accident.

His father, Bob Irwin, accompanied by his business manager and friend, John Stainton, held a news conference outside Mr Irwin's Australia Zoo, north of Brisbane, to thank the public for their support.
Steve Irwin, 44, died on Monday after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

Bob Irwin said the family had made no plans yet for a funeral with the decision resting with Steve's American-born wife, Terri.

But he said the family was not interested in offers of a state funeral.
"The state funeral would be refused because he's just an ordinary bloke," he said of Steve.

Mr Irwin thanked the public who have come to the zoo in their thousands to lay flowers and tributes.

"I'd like to thank all the people for all the wonderful tributes that have come in. It's been absolutely amazing."
Mr Irwin said the death was taking a huge toll on the family but Terri was holding up very well.

"It's extremely hard for Terri and the children," he said.
"That's why I ask the media to please give them a break for the children's sake."

He described his son as his best mate and recalled what he was doing this week when he heard he had been killed.

"This may sound really, really weird, but the moment I heard the news I was about to bury a cow that had died calving," he said.
"Steve and I weren't like father and son. We were good mates.
"I'm a lucky, lucky guy I've had the opportunity to have a son like Steve.

"Over the years, Steve and I have 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.

"He was such a strong person that people all over the world believed in him."
©AAP 2006

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