Bindi Irwin Calls Father Steve Irwin Her Daughter Grace's 'Guardian Angel' 15 Years After His Death

“I wish with all my heart that Dad could hug my beautiful girl," Bindi wrote in an emotional tribute to her Crocodile Hunter father, who died in 2006

Bindi Irwin
Photo: Bindi Irwin/Instagram

Bindi Irwin marked the 15th anniversary of her dad Steve Irwin's death with a special tribute.

The 23-year-old conservationist honored her late father on Saturday in an emotional post on Instagram, featuring an adorable smiling shot of her 5-month-old daughter Grace Warrior.

"This sweetheart has been watching her 'Grandpa Crocodile' on the projector at our camp here on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. She lights up when she sees him on screen," she wrote alongside the image.

"I wish with all my heart that Dad could hug my beautiful girl," Bindi continued. "It's been 15 years since he passed away. I hold on to the thought that he's her guardian angel now, watching over the most special part of my life, Grace Warrior. ❤️."

Steve (aka the Crocodile Hunter) died on Sept. 4, 2006, after his heart was pierced by the barb of a stingray while filming at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. He was 44.

Prior to giving birth to Grace in March on her 1-year wedding anniversary with husband Chandler Powell, Bindi told Entertainment Tonight that her father likely would have been a loving grandfather.

"He would've been a good, good grandpa. Yeah, he really would've been," said the Crikey! It's the Irwins star in February. "I don't think we would've ever seen our daughter. He would've just whisked her away into the zoo and it would've been perfect."

As she noted in Saturday's tribute, Bindi is giving her daughter a glimpse at who her grandfather was through family photos and videos.

"It is so nice that we'll be able to introduce her to her grandfather through all of the documentaries," she told ET. "It's really special."

Later that month, Bindi said her daughter's nickname, Baby Wildlife Warrior, was a tribute to her father in an interview with The Bump.

"My dad was the first person to create the term 'Wildlife Warrior.' Being a Wildlife Warrior means to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," the Animal Planet star explained.

Neither Bindi nor Powell wanted to name their child until she was born, so they gave her the nickname while they waited.

"I know in my heart that she will forge her own path to make our planet a better place through her connections with the gorgeous animals that we protect here at Australia Zoo and the conservation work we do with animal species around the globe," Bindi shared.

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