Steve Irwin's tear-jerking letter from the grave

Steve Irwin during a film premiere in Beverly Hills, California. Photo / Getty
Steve Irwin during a film premiere in Beverly Hills, California. Photo / Getty

A heartbreaking note penned by the legendary conservationist Steve Irwin before his death has been uncovered.

The poignant letter the late TV personality wrote to his parents at the age of 32 reveals a man who is just beginning to understand the true purpose of life and find joy.

"Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a 'Bloke's Life' is that it takes over 30 years to realise how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS," reflected the Crocodile Hunter.

"At 32, I am finally starting to figure it out. In good times and in bad, you were there.Your strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded. My love for you is my strength!

"For the rest of my life I will reflect on the unbelievably GREAT times we've shared and will continue to share. You're my best friends!"

Irwin, who signs off with a thank you, was to find even more joy with the birth of his daughter Bindi four years later, followed by son Robert.

A supplied image of a touching letter from a 32-year-old Steve Irwin to his parents, which his father, Bob, only found in 2016. Photo / AAP
A supplied image of a touching letter from a 32-year-old Steve Irwin to his parents, which his father, Bob, only found in 2016. Photo / AAP

Tragically, he was killed by a stingray 10 years ago this Sunday, when his children with wife Terri were eight and two.

His letter to his parents, Lyn and Bob, has now been published at the start of his father's memoir, The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy.

Bob only discovered the unopened envelope earlier this year, when it fell unopened out of a book while he was researching his memoir. On it was a brief message from his lost son: "Please be happy to know that your strength and wisdom have been passed on."

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The wildlife star had previously spoken about his love of his parents and hero-worship of his dad on television, calling Bob "the legend of the universe."

Irwin told the ABC's Enough Rope: "He was everything I wanted to be. And all I've done in my life is follow in his footsteps, mimic him and try to be him. And nowadays I just try to make him proud."

The 77-year-old Melbourne plumber turned conservationist co-wrote his memoir with Amanda French during a 20,000km road trip around Australia.

(L-R) Bindi, Robert, Terri and Bob Irwin pose in front of a statue of the family that was unveiled during Steve Irwin Memorial Day at Australia Zoo. Photo / Getty
(L-R) Bindi, Robert, Terri and Bob Irwin pose in front of a statue of the family that was unveiled during Steve Irwin Memorial Day at Australia Zoo. Photo / Getty

Announcing the book's release today, he said: "When the world lost Steve, the animals lost the best friend they ever had, and so did I."

"Working on this book, I have been constantly reminded of Steve's boundless energy, infectious humour and unrestrained passion for wildlife in our far too short a time together. But he is still here, still with me and I am able to gain strength from him."

"What he stood for and what he was able to achieve means just as much now as when he was here in the physical world."

"There are so many people who have been inspired by Steve Irwin. I am really, really proud of that. I hope that sharing these stories can be a pertinent reminder of the enormity of his legacy, a legacy that has not only taught us the importance of reconnecting with our environment but to be passionate in doing so."

The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy, which chronicles Bob's journey from a Melbourne plumber to conservation warrior, will be launched on October 25.

- news.com.au

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