Somehow, it’s already been 12 years since Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin passed away. His daughter, Bindi Irwin, was just 8 years old at the time, and her father’s death continues to affect her to this day.
Bindi opened up to People about what it was like to lose her dad when she was so young.
“I remember people coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m sorry for your loss, sweetheart. Time heals all wounds.’ But that’s just not true,” Bindi said. “It’s like losing a part of your heart, and when you’ve lost that, you never get it back.”
Steve died in 2006 after a sudden stingray attack. Bindi’s younger brother, Robert, was only 2 at the time.
Over a decade later, Bindi, Robert, and their mother, Terri, run a wildlife conservation nonprofit, Wildlife Warriors.
They’ve also worked to expand the Australia Zoo, where they continue to live and work.
In October, the Irwins returned to television without Steve for the first time with a new Animal Planet show, Crikey! It’s the Irwins.
“We really do try every day to make him proud and follow in his footsteps,” Bindi said.