Australia's Crocodile Hunter gets private funeral

SYDNEY (Reuters)
A private funeral service was held for Australian TV naturalist Steve Irwin on Saturday and he will be buried at his family's zoo in the northern state of Queensland, local media reported.

Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, had declined a government offer for a state funeral for his son.

Irwin, known as the "Crocodile Hunter" after his popular TV documentaries which aired around the world, was killed six days ago by a stingray barb to the chest while diving on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

After the funeral service his body was taken to his family's Australia Zoo wildlife park, where he is expected to be buried, local media reported on Sunday.

Irwin, 44, had flirted with death many times in his "Crocodile Hunter" documentaries, seen by 200 million people, wrestling with some of the world's most dangerous creatures.

News of Irwin's death clogged Internet news sites and drew tributes from around the world. Prime Minister John Howard interrupted parliament to pay tribute to him, saying he was distressed by the loss of a remarkable Australian.

A public memorial service that is likely to draw thousands of mourners was expected to take place later this month.

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