Back in 2004 everyone's favourite crocodile hunter was up for a prestigious award. However, at the last minute, the honour went to someone else after a pretty daring photo of him and his son emerged.
The revelation came from fellow Australian and Olympian Lisa Curry in her new memoir, Lisa: 60 years of Love, Life & Loss.
In 2004, the beloved Aussie legend was set to win the Australian of the Year title. However, the award went to someone else last minute, after a photo emerged of Irwin feeding a crocodile while holding his baby son, Robert.
After the photograph surfaced, Curry — who was chair of the National Australia Day Council at the time — said the awards committee was worried about public perception of the image.
As a result, the committee decided not to give the award to Irwin and instead bestowed the honour on cricket captain Steve Waugh, reportedly explaining to Irwin that he could be nominated a few years down the line once the controversy simmered down.
Speaking to News Corp, Curry explained: "It was such a shemozzle that should never have happened.
"Sometimes you do things to please people, to please the media or the public, and these days I'd go, ''No. This is what we are doing. The person deserves it and it's going to stand'.
"I want his family to know that he was, and always will be, a worthy recipient of that award."
Even if he didn't win the award, Irwin won our hearts and took is still loved by many today.
Back in February, his children, Robert and Bindi, posted heartfelt tributes to their dad on what would've been his 60th birthday.
Sharing a less controversial photo of Irwin holding a snake, Bindi wrote: "Happy Birthday to the greatest dad and Wildlife Warrior. Today I’ll watch ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ with Grace Warrior and share stories about her incredible Grandpa Crocodile. I love you with all my heart. Your legacy lives on."
Meanwhile, Robert shared a snap of him and his dad on a motorbike, writing: "Happy birthday Dad. I love you and I miss you more every single day. My earliest memories are my fondest, thanks to you. Hanging on tight to the handlebars of the motorbike, when you’d take Bindi and I on your morning lap of the zoo - before going to get ice cream for breakfast.
"Every minute spent with you was a blessing. I’m gonna ride that lap on your old motorbike this afternoon."
We're not crying, you're crying.
Fans were quick to share tributes to the incredible crocodile hunter on what would have been his birthday.
One wrote, "Your dad was apart of my childhood and he was awesome."
While another added: "Your Dad was the coolest. I loved watching him."
So did we.
Featured Image Credit: Matrix Pictures
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