Private Funeral For 'Crocodile Hunter'

In this photo released by Animal Planet shows a undated photo of Australian international media personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin at Uluru, (also known as Ayers Rock) who died on the Great Barrier Reef in far north Queensland, Australia, Monday, Sept. 4, 2006. AP Photo/Animal Planet

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's family has decided on a private funeral for the popular television star, to be held within a week. The public will have its chance at a memorial service within two weeks, with thousands expected to attend.

The 44-year-old Irwin died Monday after being killed by a stingray on the Great Barrier Reef.

In a short statement Thursday, Bob Irwin said family and "closest friends" would attend the private service, confirming that the "generous government offer" of a state funeral had been turned down.

No details were given on the possible location for a public memorial, although the Irwin family's 60-acre Australia Zoo and a 52,000-seat sports stadium in the nearby state capital of Brisbane have been mentioned.

The elder Irwin said Wednesday that his son would not have wanted a formal state funeral because "he's an ordinary guy, and he wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke."

In other developments:

  • "If I'm going to die," Irwin said in a 2002 interview, "at least I want it filmed." Discovery Communications, the network where Irwin became a star, said there was absolutely no truth to rumors that the footage showing his death, now in possession of police in Queensland, Australia, might be released. There are concerns, however, that it could end up on the Internet.

  • About 100 fans of Steve Irwin held a vigil Wednesday night at the Denver Zoo. "It just feels like somebody losing a best friend. You watch him on TV all the time, it seems like you got to know him like you were part of his family," Kevin Adams told CBS station KCNC. "I want to get involved in all that and help them raise money and raise education and awareness of animal and take animals off the endangered species list," said vigil organizer Jennifer Garrett, 16.

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard had said a state funeral would be appropriate for Irwin because he was so well loved and because of his services to the country as an unofficial tourism ambassador.
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      Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.

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