How Bob Irwin's life fell apart

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Bob Irwin's life changed forever after his beloved son, Steve 'The Crocodile Hunter', tragically died in 2006 from a freak stingray attack. 

The heartbreaking incident led to the 80-year-old becoming estranged from his grandchildren Bindi and Robert Irwin, quitting Australia Zoo and ultimately living like a 'recluse' in a small town called Kingaroy, in the South Burnett Region of Queensland.

Despite once being the patriarch of the Irwin family, last week Bob was forced to attempt to contact Bindi through the media after failing to receive a response to his well-wishes for her upcoming to fiance, Chandler Powell.   

From a loving grandad to a virtual 'recluse': How Bob Irwin's life fell apart after the freak death of his Croc Hunter son - and why the Australia Zoo founder has been 'estranged' from Bindi, Robert and Terri for a decade. Pictured 2017

From a loving grandad to a virtual 'recluse': How Bob Irwin's life fell apart after the freak death of his Croc Hunter son - and why the Australia Zoo founder has been 'estranged' from Bindi, Robert and Terri for a decade. Pictured 2017

THE TOLL STEVE'S DEATH TOOK ON HIM

On September 4, 2006, Steve, 44, tragically died after a stingray attack at Batt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland. 

As the world mourned, Bob admitted he found himself at a loss as to how to move on with his life without his only son by his side.

'Once we lost Steve, those were difficult times, and a lot of it all I wanted to forget, I suppose,' he told ABC's Australian Story in 2015. 

'Once we lost Steve those were difficult times and a lot of it all I wanted to forget, I suppose,' he admitted on ABC's Australian Story in 2015.  Pictured with his son in early 2000s

'Once we lost Steve those were difficult times and a lot of it all I wanted to forget, I suppose,' he admitted on ABC's Australian Story in 2015.  Pictured with his son in early 2000s

'I basically buried myself in physical work, I didn't want anything to do with people. 

'I had things to get sorted out in my own head and that took a long time to get those sorted out. I didn't want to be like a hermit because that wasn't doing me any good.'

Bob had essentially lost his entire immediate family, as six years earlier his wife Lyn died in a car accident in February 2000.  

'I didn't want anything to do with people,' Bob said in 2015 after his son Steve's life was cut tragically short. Pictured: Steve in San Francisco in 2002

'I didn't want anything to do with people,' Bob said in 2015 after his son Steve's life was cut tragically short. Pictured: Steve in San Francisco in 2002

LEAVING AUSTRALIA ZOO AND LOSING HIS HOME  

In 2008, two years after Steve passed away, it was announced that Bob was resigning from Australia Zoo. 

At the time of his exit, he was accused of having a 'disruptive influence' after a difference of opinion on how to run the wildlife precinct, leading to rumours he had been pushed out by his daughter-in-law Terri.

It was a tragic turn of events for Bob, who first opened the sanctuary with his beloved late wife Lyn in 1970, and went on to be at helm of the zoo for almost four decades. 

Split:  In 2008, two years after Steve passed away, it was announced that Bob was resigning from Australia Zoo. At the time of his exit, he was accused of having a 'disruptive influence' on the business after a difference of opinion on how to run the wildlife precinct, leading to rumours he had been pushed out by daughter-in-law Terri. Pictured: Bob and Terri honouring Steve in 2007

Split:  In 2008, two years after Steve passed away, it was announced that Bob was resigning from Australia Zoo. At the time of his exit, he was accused of having a 'disruptive influence' on the business after a difference of opinion on how to run the wildlife precinct, leading to rumours he had been pushed out by daughter-in-law Terri. Pictured: Bob and Terri honouring Steve in 2007 

Prior to his resignation, Bob had transferred full legal ownership to Steve and Terri in 2004, months before he married second wife Judy, but he remained a major part of the business.  

After he stepped away from Australia Zoo, he managed to reach a financial settlement with Terri, allowing him to buy a property and set up his own sanctuary called Camp Chilli near Kingaroy - named after Bob and his son's favourite camping spot along Cattle Creek near Ingham.  

He also left Australia Zoo's Ironbark Station sanctuary at Blackbutt, Queensland, where he had previously been living. 

End of an era: It was a tragic turn of events for Bob, who first opened the sanctuary with his beloved late wife Lyn in 1970, and went on to be at helm of the zoo for almost four decades

End of an era: It was a tragic turn of events for Bob, who first opened the sanctuary with his beloved late wife Lyn in 1970, and went on to be at helm of the zoo for almost four decades

BECOMING A 'RECLUSE' AND 'DISTANCING' HIMSELF FROM FAMILY

It wasn't long before Bob lost contact with his grandchildren. 

In 2016, Bindi claimed it was her grandfather who cut ties with the rest of the family. 

'Everyone deals with grief differently. When my dad passed away he chose to distance himself from everything that dad loved most,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 

'At the moment, we're really just respecting his wishes

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