It was just a freak thing according to his manager. They said on the news this morning that it stabbed him in the heart, not sure if that is true or not, CNN says he was stabeed in the chest, so I guess it's possible it got his heart.
"He came over the top of a stingray that was buried in the sand, and the barb came up and hit him in the chest," Stainton said.
Wildlife documentary maker Ben Cropp, citing a colleague who saw footage of the attack, told Time.com that Irwin had accidentally boxed the animal in. "It stopped and twisted and threw up its tail with the spike, and it caught him in the chest," said Cropp. "It's a defensive thing. It's like being stabbed with a dirty dagger.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/0 ... index.html
I concur with everyone, I really enjoyed watching him, we need alot more people with his passion & dedication to conserving wildlife. As a species, humans are very destructive and don;t often think about the consequences of our actions where wildlife in concerned.
The first time I ever saw him, he did a special for Discovery called The Worlds Most Dangerous Snakes. Here this guy is running around chasing and picking up the 10 most venomous snakes in the world, I can remember thinking, "Wow, this guy is a lunatic!" BUt after watching alot of his stuff, I grew to respect him for what he did, and realize why he did what he did.