Bindi Irwin shared a touching tribute to her late father, Steve Irwin, on the 10th anniversary of the Crocodile Hunter’s death ― a day that coincides with Father’s Day in Australia.
“You’ll be my hero for my entire existence. I love you more than words can describe,” Bindi wrote on Sunday, local time, alongside an adorable throwback photo of her and her dad. The 18-year-old is just a baby in the shot, in which her dad, smiling, holds her up with one hand.
Just a couple days before the former “Dancing with the Stars” winner posted the cute photo, her grandfather Bob Irwin shared an emotional letter that Steve wrote to his parents a few years before he died.
Bob found the note while doing research for his memoir, The Last Crocodile Hunter, but didn’t open it until last week. In the note, Steve called his parents his “best friends.”
“Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a ‘Bloke’s Life,’ is that it takes over 30 years to realize how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS,” Steve wrote. “At 32, I am finally starting to figure it out. In good times and in bad, you were there.”
Steve Irwin died on Sept. 4, 2006, after a stingray’s barb punctured his heart. At the time, the wildlife expert was filming a documentary called “Ocean’s Deadliest.”
In the years since his death, Irwin’s family has focused their efforts on continuing his legacy.
“For us as a family, it’s a team effort. I think we have tried so hard to make sure everything he lived and died for carries on. My dad always used to say, ‘I don’t care if anyone remembers me. I just want people to remember my message,’ so we’ve tried to make sure that his heart and soul continue to live on through our work,” Bindi told The Huffington Post last year. “We hope to make sure that he’s proud and carry on his legacy.”