Steve Irwin died at age 44 in September 2006 when a stingray pierced his heart with its barb

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April 26, 2018 04:26 PM

Twelve years after his tragic death, Steve Irwin’s legacy has been cemented in Hollywood history.

The late Crocodile Hunter star, who died at age 44 in September 2006 when a stingray pierced his heart with its barb, was honored with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on Thursday. Widow Terri, daughter Bindi and son Robert gave special speeches as they joined fans and friends of the beloved conservationist and TV icon at the ceremony, which was live-streamed.

“We try to continue dad’s legacy each and every day. I’m going to get a little bit emotional, because it’s such a special day,” said Bindi, 19, while wiping away her tears.

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“I have to tell you that I never in my wildest dreams imagined that this would become a reality, and this is such an honor as a family to continue in dad’s footsteps, so thank you for being here today and supporting us,” said the Dancing with the Stars champion, who was joined by her boyfriend Chandler Powell.

Brother Robert, 14, said, “He was the best and most incredible conservationist on the planet, but also the best dad.”

Meanwhile, Terri, 53, shared one of the best life lessons she learned from her late husband.

“I have been so privileged to have had the biggest adventure with Steve. Every single day was like being in the middle of a cyclone. We never knew where we were going to go or what we were going to do,” the mother of two said. “I learned from Steve that everyone just needs to say yes to stuff. Take a page out of Steve’s book and love everything.”

RELATED: Watch Steve Irwin’s Children Fulfill His Legacy in Emotional First Look at the Family’s New Series

Before the star ceremony, the Irwin family told PEOPLE about the significance of the tribute.

“It’s such a true blessing and to have dad on the Hollywood Walk of Fame forever remembered for his extraordinary conservation work is just unbelievable,” Bindi said. “I truly feel like dad will be with us in our little hearts on the day as we unveil his star, but you know for us he was the greatest dad on planet Earth, and he really tried hard to encourage everyone to make a difference on the planet.”

RELATED VIDEO: Bindi Irwin Talks About the Last Time She Got Her Hands Dirty – and it Involves a Huge Rhino!

“He reached through people’s living rooms through their television sets to millions of homes worldwide trying to educate everyone on how to make a difference and believe in their strength to change the world, so to have this honor is just absolutely wonderful,” she added. “And to have a conservationist on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is phenomenal.”

RELATED: More Crocodile Hunters! The Irwin Family Announces Return to Animal Planet

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Terri revealed that close family friend and actor Russell Crowe contributed greatly to Steve’s star recognition.

“Part of the funds that go towards getting the star was sponsored by our local tourism [group], and Russell Crowe also wrote a letter of recommendation to the star board to say that Steve was very deserving of this,” she said.

“A lot of people came together to make it happen, and Steve would have been so chuffed to receive such an amazing honor and I think he would have said it’s not about him but its really about his message, and that’s getting that message of conservation out to more people so that’s pretty special,” she concluded.

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