The Real Reason We May Never Know Steve Irwin's Final Words

Conservationist Steve Irwin died from a tragic encounter with a stingray on September 4, 2006, according to NBC News. The Australian, who rose to fame as host of "The Crocodile Hunter," along with a handful of other nature-focused docu-series, made a career out of getting up close and personal with various forms wildlife, whether he was wrangling a crocodile or posing next to a rattle snake. Unfortunately, Irwin's courageous nature proved fatal as a stingray pierced him the heart. 

News of Irwin's death sent shockwaves across the world, as his devoted fans mourned his life and career. Following Irwin's untimely death, Australian filmmaker David Ireland spoke with Southern Cross Broadcasting Radio and shared that stingrays have barbs in their tails which are coated in toxic material and are like a bayonet. "If it hits any vital organs it's as deadly as a bayonet," said Ireland (via The Guardian).

Camera's actually captured Irwin's death, as the conservationist was supposed to be filming for his show, "Ocean's Deadliest," but ended up working on his daughter's show, "Bindi The Jungle Girl." According to his biographer, Irwin had a rule that cameras were to remain filming at all times," per Lad Bible. "Even if he is eaten by a shark or croc, the main thing he wants is that it be filmed. If he died he would be sad if no one got it on tape."

Even though Irwin's final moments were captured on film, the public will likely never see them.

There's only one copy of Steve Irwin's death

Even though camera's were rolling as camera crews and paramedics attempted to save Steve Irwin's life, the whereabouts of the existing footage isn't exactly known. 

Following Steve's death, the footage was handed over to the proper authorities. During an appearance on Larry King Live, John Stainton, Irwin's friend and director stated, "When that is finally released [after being investigated], it will never see the light of day. Ever. Ever," he said, (via The Sun). "I actually saw it, but I don't want to see it again."

In case you've seen a video purporting to show Irwin's death, Irwin's wife Terri Irwin claims the video is a fake. "After Steve died, 100 million viewers watched video of his death that was released on YouTube," she said. "That film was a complete fabrication exploiting people's sadness." Terri went on to say that she's never watched the real footage, explaining, "I know how my husband died and I was relieved that the children weren't on the boat as they usually would be." During the same interview, Terri stated that the real footage is being held in a police vault.