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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
'Crocoseum' tribute set for Irwin
Surfers hold hands off Australia's eastern coast to cast flowers into the Pacific Ocean in honour of TV conservationist Steve Irwin
Many Australians are mourning the popular naturalist
A public memorial service for Australian naturalist Steve Irwin will be held at Australia Zoo in Queensland next Wednesday.

Irwin's widow, Terri, said the ceremony would be held in the zoo's "Crocoseum".

The TV personality known as the Crocodile Hunter was killed when a stingray's barb stabbed Irwin in the chest while he was diving.

Since then, 10 stingrays have been found mutilated on Queensland beaches in apparent revenge attacks.

While it is not certain that the incidents were connected to Irwin's death, Michael Hornby, a friend of the late naturalist, said such killings would be "the last thing Steve would want".

'Outpouring of love'

In her first statement since her husband's death, Mrs Irwin said the memorial service would be open to the public, and that people who wish to attend should make a donation to Irwin's Wildlife Warriors fund.

The venue only seats 5,500 people, but large television screens will be set up in other areas, and the event will be broadcast live on TV in Australia, the US and Asia.

Wildlife presenter Steve Irwin
Mr Irwin was well-known for his work with Australian wildlife
Mrs Irwin said that although more spacious venues had been suggested, she thought her husband would have wanted the service at Australia Zoo.

"I cannot see how a memorial service would work in any other place other than the Crocoseum, which he built here at the zoo and of which he was so proud," she said.

Mrs Irwin also thanked well-wishers for their "overwhelming outpouring of love, support and prayers for my family".

Thousands of fans have been to Australia Zoo since Irwin's death, bringing flowers, candles, stuffed animals and messages of support.

The 44-year-old naturalist was buried in a private ceremony at the zoo on Saturday, after his family turned down the offer of a state funeral, saying Irwin was "just an ordinary bloke".


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Tributes being paid to Steve Irwin



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