September 4, 2006 - 3:31PM
Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, has died after being struck by a stingray barb in Queensland.
Mr Irwin, 44 died after the stingray barb went through his chest while he was shooting a documentary off Port Douglas.
The Queensland Police Service has confirmed Mr Irwin's death.
In a statement, it said Mr Irwin collapsed after being stung by a sting ray at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas, about 11am.
After being struck, Mr Irwin's crew called for medical treatment and the Emergency Management Queensland Helicopter responded, but he was dead before the treatment arrived.
The statement said Mr Irwin's family has been advised.
His American-born wife Terri is reported to be trekking on Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.
A spokesman for the Queensland Ambulance Service said officers attended the scene on Low
Isles via helicopter at 12.04pm today and arrived back in Cairns at 12.53pm.
"The area it was delivered to was the problem. A sting ray hit to the chest is a big problem," he said.
Mr Irwin - known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter - is famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry "Crikey!".
The father of two's Crocodile Hunter program was first broadcast in 1992 and has been shown around the world on cable network Discovery.
He also starred in movies and has developed the Australia Zoo wildlife park, north of Brisbane, which was started by his parents Bob and Lyn Irwin.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who used a photograph of his family at Australia Zoo for his official Christmas card last year, hailed Mr Irwin for his work in promoting Australia.
Mr Irwin was heavily involved in last year's "G'Day LA" campaign.
"The minister knew him, was fond of him and was very, very appreciative of all the work he'd done to promote Australia overseas," a spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Irwin's Australia Zoo said she was aware of reports of his death and the zoo would not be making any statements at this stage.
According to the zoo's website, Irwin was born in Victoria in 1962, butmoved with his family to Queensland in 1970 when his father, Bob, started a reptile park on the Sunshine Coast.
Irwin married American Terri Raines in 1992 after she visited the zooon holiday.
I am sure australia will be in mourning!