September 4th marks both Father’s Day in Australia as well as the 16th anniversary of Steve Irwin’s tragic death at age 44.
Steve Irwin’s wife, Terri Irwin, alongside his two children, Bindi and Robert Irwin, all shared touching messages on social media to pay tribute to the last conservationist on the dual occasion.
On her Instagram, Bindi Irwin, 24, posted a throwback photo to her feed. In the shot taken at night, both she and her father sat in a boat wearing headlamps. Steve Irwin sat behind his daughter with a big smile on his face, while she held what appears to be a small reptile in her hands.
“Grandpa Crocodile, I know you would’ve been the most incredible grandfather because you were such an extraordinary dad,” she wrote in the caption. “Thank you for being an amazing guardian angel for Grace.”
Bindi Irwin’s younger brother Robert Irwin, who was only 2-years-old when his dad died, shared his own tribute to his father. On his Instagram, he posted a childhood photo of his dad holding him with a bouquet of flowers in his other hand.
“It’s Father’s Day today in Australia, and I am sending my love to those who are missing their dad today,” Robert Irwin wrote in his caption. “I cherish all the good times with my dad and feel grateful to be able to keep his memory and legacy alive.”
Robert Irwin shared another throwback photo on his Instagram story, adding a simple heart emoji alongside the picture. In the snap, both he and his father posed for the camera with their tongues sticking out.
Terri Irwin penned her own tribute to her husband of 14 years, posting two family photos on Twitter. One of the photos included a throwback of the family of four when Robert Irwin was just an infant, while the other was a recent selfie of their two children posting together.
“The part of Steve’s life that he loved the most was being a dad,” she wrote alongside the sweet family photos. “He would be so very proud.”
The part of Steve’s life that he loved the most was being a dad. He would be so very proud. pic.twitter.com/eUnjnYRVCY
— Terri Irwin (@TerriIrwin) September 4, 2022
The “Crocodile Hunter” passed away on September 4, 2006 while filming a documentary in the Great Barrier Reef. During the filming process, Steve Irwin’s chest was punctured by a stingray’s poisonous barb.
In the years since his death, the Irwin family has continued to carry on Steve Irwin’s legacy.
The family are still avid conservationists who continue to run the Australia Zoo under Terri Irwin’s ownership. Steve Irwin’s original show “The Crocodile Hunter,” which ran for five seasons, spawned several other television opportunities for him and his family, including the ongoing series “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” starring the Irwin family alongside Bindi Irwin’s husband, Chandler Powell.
Bindi Irwin and Powell welcomed their daughter, Grace Warrior, in March 2021. Though she’s only a toddler, the Irwin family have already seen the 1-year-old embrace the family legacy.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in January, Terri Irwin said that animals have started to gravitate toward Grace, explaining, “I think she’s got that determination that Steve had and that connection with wildlife.”
Last month, Bindi Irwin documented the connection that Grace has already formed with her grandparents including her late grandpa, who would have turned 60 in February.
In a video captured on Bindi Irwin’s Instagram, Grace walked up to a large mural of Terri and Steve Irwin posing with a koala. In the background of the video, Bindi Irwin can be heard asking Grace questions, including “Where is Grandpa Crocodile?” before the toddler pointed to Steve Irwin on the mural.
“Tears in my eyes as I share this video,” she wrote in the caption. “We call my mum and dad, Bunny and Grandpa Crocodile with Grace. She loves them (and koalas) dearly. On every zoo walk she searches for pictures of her grandparents and it is beyond beautiful.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com