BEERWAH, Australia - "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, killed in a stingray attack this week, knew the risks involved in his work and often discussed the possibility he might die doing it, his father said Wednesday.
The 44-year-old star was being filmed for a new TV program as he swam with a stingray on the Great Barrier Reef Monday when it lashed out with its tail, plunging a poisonous barb into his chest. He died within minutes.
In the first public comments by Irwin's family since the tragedy, the elder Irwin, who started the wildlife park that his son turned into a major tourist attraction, said Wednesday both were aware of the inherent dangers of their occupation.
"Both of us over the years have had some very close shaves and we both approached it the same way, we made jokes about it," he said. "That's not to say we were careless. But we treated it as part of the job. Nothing to worry about really."
Thousands of fans have flocked to Irwin's Australia Zoo wildlife park in Queensland state, creating a shrine of flowers, candles and written tributes. Stuffed animals poke out from between flags of Australia, the United States and England, and some visitors signed and left khaki shirts similar to those worn by Irwin in lieu of a condolences book.
Bob Irwin, 66, thanked fans for their messages of support and reassured them his son had died doing what he loved.
A private funeral will be held at an undisclosed location within seven days, and a public memorial service will be held within two weeks, Bob Irwin said Thursday.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie had offered a state funeral, and Prime Minister John Howard said that would be appropriate, calling Irwin a great ambassador for Australia. But Bob Irwin said Wednesday it wouldn't be what Steve wanted.
"He's an ordinary guy, and he wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke," he said.
Michael Hornby, the head of one of Irwin's wildlife charities, Wildlife Warriors, said the star's wife, Terri Irwin, was thinking about having a small, private ceremony at an Outback location and approving a separate large event at a stadium in the state capital, Brisbane.
Hornby also urged people to be careful in sending donations to Irwin's charities as a tribute, saying two or three bogus Web sites had been set up attempting to divert some of the money.
Separately, Irwin's manager and close friend John Stainton said the videotape showing him being fatally stabbed should never be publicly aired.
"It should be destroyed," Stainton told CNN's "Larry King Live." He said he has seen the footage and it shows Irwin pulling the barb from his chest in his last moments.
The tape is in the possession of police as evidence for the coroner.
The Discovery Channel, which produced and aired Irwin's programs to a reported global audience of more than 200 million, said it will not show the footage.
Police have said there are no suspicious circumstances in Irwin's death, and no decision has been made about whether a coroner will hold a formal inquest or simply accept the police findings. No formal cause of death has been announced.
Terri Irwin briefly addressed park staff late Tuesday over a public address system.
"She was very choked up. It was a very frail comment," Hornby told The Associated Press Wednesday. "But she wanted to say to the staff how grateful she was for their support and how much it meant to her."
Bob Irwin said he had just spent nearly a month with his son's family on Cape York in tropical northern Australia doing crocodile research.
"Steve was probably the best I had seen him in many years, in his own personal attitude," he said. "He was peaceful. He was not under stress. And he was doing something that he really loved doing. I won't ever forget that three or four weeks."