Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile hunter" was killed by a stingray, which pierced his heart with its venomous tail.
Irwin had a love of animals and wildlife biology. His spectacular stunts though, in which he not only wrestled crocodiles but did things with all sorts of wild animals that brought about the "don't try this at home," disclaimer were always a concern, especially that children might try fighting snakes or otherwise replicate stunts on the show.
But I understand why Irwin did it. His goal was to keep people interested in animals, especially with an eye to preserving the many threatened and endangered species that face habitat destruction, competition with non-native species, pollutants in their environment and other dangers brought about by humans. In today's fast paced, 'thrill-a-minute' society, it took someone like Irwin to get people to notice animals, from which he could begin to educate them.
I was never a huge fan of Irwin's show myself (my kids and I much prefer the Kratt brothers, similar but never doing things as dangerous as Irwin and who always advise 'always give a wild animal her space,') but in the end Steve Irwin did serve to raise awareness, and he deserves credit for that. As this incident, and the tiger attack on Roy Horn a couple of years ago show, animals can be dangerous and we should always treat them with respect.
And as to the manner of his death, it's not such a surprise and I don't know if Irwin would have it any other way. Somehow, 'car accident' or 'heart attack' would be less fitting for his obituary than 'stung to death by a stingray.'