Bindi Irwin Says Baby Grace Is 'Captivated' by Videos of the Late Steve Irwin: 'Utter Fascination'

Steve Irwin died in 2006 while diving with stingrays for an underwater film titled Ocean's Deadliest

Bindi Irwin rollout
Photo: robert irwin

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell's daughter Grace Warrior, 13 months, is fascinated by her late "Grandpa Crocodile" Steve Irwin.

"We have so many documentaries of Dad, and we're always playing them for Grace," Bindi tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "It's so fun to watch her study him. I didn't realize how much Dad's passion for life and his animated facial expressions — I mean, they captivate her."

After rising to international fame on his wildlife documentary television series The Crocodile Hunter, Steve was diving with stingrays for an underwater film titled Ocean's Deadliest when he died on Sept. 4, 2006, at age 44. Bindi was just 8 years old.

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Now, the Crikey! It's the Irwins star, 23, and Powell, 25, are raising baby Grace at the Australia Zoo where they live and work alongside Bindi's mom, Terri, 57, and brother Robert, 18.

"I definitely see parts of [Dad] in Grace," says Bindi. "His determination and his inability to sit still. I think that's really special. I'm excited to see as she grows up how her personality will develop. If Dad was around, honestly, we would never see her. He would be in love."

She adds, "He'd just have her doing everything with him. We would only see her if she needed a feed and then be gone again."

RELATED GALLERY: All the Times Baby Grace Followed in Her Grandpa Steve Irwin's Footsteps

Bindi Irwin rollout
Robert Irwin

Bindi adds that Steve is a part of their every day.

"It's so lovely that without him knowing, he was creating the most wonderful TV programming for our daughter," she says. "She just stares at him in complete and utter fascination. She hangs on every word he says. Whether he's talking about a croc or a spider, she thinks it's amazing."

For more from Bindi Irwin and her family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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