The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, had a Religious Experience and Became a Christian Two Weeks Before His Death-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

An eRumor that says that Steve Irwin, the internationally famous “Crocodile Hunter” who was killed in a freak accident with a stingray, became a Christian just two weeks before his death and paid off all the debts of a church in Queensland.

The Truth:

It is common for rumors about a last-minute conversion experience to circulate about celebrities who have died.

Steve Irwin’s standing before God was known only to him and to God, but this particular rumor about his having made a visible commitment to faith at an Australian church two weeks before his death is false.

The version that circulated quickly around the Internet in mid-September, 2006, was said to be from a pastor from a nearby city.  It claimed that Irwin made his decision in front of the congregation at Kings Church in Buderim, Queensland, Australia.

Another version said that Irwin had also paid off all the debts of the church just before he died.

Sheree Penny of the King’s Christian Church in Buderim told, however, that the story is not true.  She said that Irwin’s wife, Terry, and her children had attended the church in the past but that neither Terry nor Steve had attended recently.

Another rumor said that Steve Irwin had been led into making a Christian commitment by a man who was the “chaplain” at the Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin’s tourist attraction.  According to a report by Ramon Williams through Assist News Service, however, the man is not a chaplain at the zoo, but simply a part-time employee who did not have personal contact with Irwin.

Updated 9/17906

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

I want to inform Creation Ministries International, that Steve Irwin became a born again Christian two and a half weeks ago at the Kings Church AOG Buderim, Queensland Australia, going forward publicly before the congregation to ask Christ to become his Lord and Saviour.

Many of us will now spend eternity with him. I am sure Terri is comforted as a Christian in the fact that she will be with Jesus and also Steve again for eternity. Steve declared the day before he died that he was the happiest he had ever been in his whole life.