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Steve Irwin’s Widow Reveals The “Crocodile Hunter” Predicted He Would Die Young

ABC / The Australian Zoo

It's been 12 years since The Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin lost his life in a tragic on-set accident.

For fans of the famous zookeeper and conservationist, the pain of losing Irwin still hurts.

But the fearless TV star's wife and children have suffered even more.

In a tearful new interview, Irwin's widow Terri recalled the last time she saw her husband alive, and Irwin's frightening prediction about his own untimely death.

Steve Irwin Family
Steve and Terri Irwin with their children Bindi and Robert.ABC News

"I got to our destination for the night and they said 'you need to call your zoo manager.'"

Terri was a guest on the Australian TV series Brush With Fame, and spoke openly about losing Irwin in 2006.

She revealed that just months before the accident that took his life, Irwin considered leaving show business for good.

“I remember him saying to me 'I don't think I'm going to film anymore, I think I'm just going to spend time with my kids,'" Terri said.

Steve Irwin Bindi
Steve and Terri pose with Bindi.The Australian Zoo

But Irwin continued work on his Ocean's Deadliest series, eventually being struck and killed by a stingray's barb off the coast of Australia.

Terri said she flew out to Tasmania with her daughter Bindi and son Robert right before the accident, and Irwin said goodbye to them before takeoff.

"I remember him at the airstrip waving goodbye," Terri said. "That was the last time we saw him."

Steve Irwin Robert
Steve and his son, Robert.NBC

The grieving widow says she still regrets that 2-year-old Robert was buckled into his seat, and couldn't wave goodbye to his father.

"Those were the days when communication wasn't as good," Terri remembered.

"There wasn't much in range in Tasmania. I got to our destination for the night and they said 'you need to call your zoo manager'.”

“So they took me into a backroom and I got the news that Steve had been in this accident and had died.”

Steve Terri Irwin
The Australia Zoo

"Famous wasn't a word that occurred to Steve."

Terri remembers being shaken by her husband's death, and unsure how to move on with her life.

"I just remember this incredible sense of responsibility, this feeling of overwhelming grief but 'what do I do next?'" she said.

But her husband always seemed to realize his days were numbered, Terri explained.

Steve Irwin
ABC

"He never thought he’d have a long life. He always kind of had this sense that his life would be cut short."

Terri says the massive show of support from Steve's fans around the world helped her and the children cope with their loss.

"No one would've been more surprised than Steve at the outpouring at grief and love," she said. "Famous wasn't a word that occurred to Steve."

Steve Irwin Terri Irwin
Today

Terri, an American who met Irwin through her work in wildlife conservation, says his modest and humble attitude was what attracted her to him.

"He was never pretentious, never big-noted himself," she said.

"And we did put everything we made for wildlife and still do back into conservation, I'm really proud of that."

Irwin family
The Irwins today.Discovery

Life After Steve

Prepare to feel old: this year Steve and Terri's daughter Bindi is turning 20, and their son Robert is already 14.

Terri reveals she sees a lot of their famous father in her children - especially Robert, who is the spitting image of his dad as a teen.

The family have upheld Irwin's nature-loving legacy through the years too.

Irwin family
People

They have all continued to work at the family business, The Australia Zoo, while hosting educational TV shows about wildlife.

Terri is even joining her kids for a new show on Animal Planet later this year, and they unveiled Irwin's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame together in typically Irwin style.

But despite their glamorous lives, living without Irwin has taken a toll on the family.

Terri Irwin
Terri teared up remembering her late husband in a recent interview.ABC

"Some days are tougher than others," Terri admitted to People, adding that even after a decade "I still really, really miss Steve."

In fact, Terri hasn't even gone on a date since losing her husband. "I had my happily ever after," she explained.

"If I hadn’t met Steve I think I probably wouldn’t have gotten married."

But Bindi says her dad "lives on in our hearts," and in their work together as a family.

Steve Irwin
The Australia Zoo

"We can feel dad around us everyday through the work that we do."

While his family are continuing to share Irwin's love of animals with the world, Terri shares advice from someone who found - and lost - her true love.

"The meaning of life is unconditional love," she said. "If you can achieve that, I think you're set."

What an inspiring woman! We all miss Steve Irwin and his incredible spirit.

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[H/T: ABC, People]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com