February 22, 1962 - September 4, 2006: Age 44
“Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, a popular Australian naturalist and TV personality, was killed at 44 by a stingray’s barb piercing his chest and heart. He was snorkeling in shallow water at the Great Barrier Reef, filming some scenes for a segment in a television show he was co-hosting with his daughter. His colleagues, who witnessed and filmed the accident, explain that the ray probably felt threatened by Steve’s proximity, but that it was a “one-in-a-million thing” that he was stung.
Although the film of the accident was never released to the public, his colleague John Stainton described it, stating, "Steve came over the top of the ray and the tail came up, and spiked him here [in the chest], and he pulled it out and the next minute he's gone." He was pronounced dead by medical staff when they arrived shortly after.
From Wikipedia: “It is thought, in the absence of a coroner's report, that a combination of the toxins and the puncture wound caused Irwin to die of cardiac arrest, with most damage being inflicted by tears to arteries or other main blood vessels. A similar incident in Florida a month later in which a man survived a stingray barb through the heart showed that Irwin may have caused his own death by removing the barb.”
Sources: Wikipedia, Australia Zoo