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Remembering the Crocodile Hunter

9/20/2006 11:17 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

More than 5,000 people gathered at the Australia Zoo's "Crocoseum" Wednesday to celebrate the memory of the late Steve Irwin. There was only one empty seat in the stadium - one set aside for Irwin himself, between his widow Terri and father Robert.

The emotional tribute was peppered with bloopers and outtakes from Irwin's show, "The Crocodile Hunter," as well as speeches and video tributes from family, friends and celebrities like Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake.

The Australian-born Crowe opened the memorial with a taped introduction from New York saying, "We've all lost a friend, lost a champion and we're gonna take some time to adjust to that ... I'm in New York mate, the big city and you were headline news on CNN for a week, there's not many zookeepers that would command that sort of attention mate ...You were heard and you will be remembered."

Irwin, 44, died on September 4 when a stingray barb pierced his chest during filming for a TV show, leaving behind his wife and two children, Bindi 8, and Bob, 2. In one of the more moving moments, 8-year-old Bindi read a short speech about her father saying, "I had the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day. Whenever I see a crocodile I will always think of him ... Daddy made this place his whole life. Now it's our turn to help Daddy, thank you."

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