Manager: Irwin Tribute 'Not a Circus'

Wednesday's Crocodile Hunter memorial won't be a "spectacle," his manager says

Although Steve Irwin’s family declined the Australia government’s offer of a state funeral, Prime Minister John Howard and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie will attend Wednesday morning’s public farewell.

The tribute, which will take place in the 5,500-seat Crocoseum at the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo in Queensland, will air live and commercial-free in the U.S. on Animal Planet on Tuesday at 9-10 p.m. ET (because of the time difference with Australia), with a repeat at midnight.

Irwin, 44, died Sept. 4 after a stingray’s barb pierced his chest while he was swimming off the Great Barrier Reef. A private funeral for family and friends was held Sept. 9.

Irwin’s manager and friend, John Stainton, told Australia’s Daily Telegraph that details of Wednesday’s service are being kept secret.

“I really don’t want to make a publicity spectacle out of who is going to be doing anything or who is going to be appearing and turn it into a circus,” he said.

“It’s not a circus big top thing and it’s been hard enough just getting it together without having to use publicity to make it work. It doesn’t need it.”

Stainton said he expected Irwin’s widow, Terri, to attend, but added that she might be too upset still to participate. “I don’t want to put her through any stress at all. Steve wouldn’t want that,” he said.

In addition, a decision about whether the couple’s daughter Bindi, 8, will speak at the service will be made on Wednesday, Stainton said. (The Irwins also have a son, Robert, who turns 3 in December.)

“There’s no pressure on anybody,” Stainton told the newspaper. “It’s very loose at the moment. I just want it to happen and everyone to enjoy it and that’s it.”

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old woman whose identity was not disclosed was arrested for allegedly selling fraudulent Steve Irwin stickers she claimed would raise money for his Wildlife Warriors fund, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday.

“Steve would be absolutely appalled by this,” Stainton told ABC radio.

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