KINGAROY, Australia, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Bob Irwin remembers Steve Irwin as a dedicated and loving son.
The 77-year-old conservationist shared a long-lost letter from Irwin this week ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Crocodile Hunter's death.
The touching note sees Irwin voice his love and respect for his parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin. Like Irwin and his widow, Terri Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter's parents were noted naturalists who founded the Australia Zoo in 1970.
"Dear Dad & Mum,
Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a 'Bloke's Life' is that it takes over 30 years to realize how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and most importantly my happiness.
At 32 I am finally starting to figure it out, in good times and in bad -- you were there; you're strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded. My love for you is my strength!
For the rest of my life I will reflect on the unbelievably great times we've shared and will continue to share. You're my best friends!
Thank you, Steve"
Bob Irwin told news.com.au that he discovered the letter while researching his memoir, The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy. Lyn Irwin died in a car crash in 2000, while Steve Irwin was killed when his chest was pierced by the barb of a stingray while he was snorkeling in shallow water off Queensland, Australia, in 2006. He was 44.
"Working on this book, I have been constantly reminded of Steve's boundless energy, infectious humor and unrestrained passion for wildlife in our far too short a time together," Bob Irwin said. "But he is still here, still here with me and I am able to gain strength from him."
"What he stood for and what he was able to achieve means just as much now as when he was here in the physical world.," he added.
Irwin is also survived by his two children with Terri Irwin, 18-year-old Bindi Irwin and 12-year-old Robert Irwin. Terri Irwin said in the September issue of Australian Women's Weekly that she hasn't gone on a single date since her husband's death.