Phillip: Your response reminds me, actually, of a passage from All the King's Men: "The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him."
At the heart of it all, Irwin sought knowledge and shed light on some dangerous wonders for people across the globe. His wife was there for much of it, so she clearly consented. And while his death is sad and tragic for his children, they will grow up with evidence of a father who balked at nothing and went where few if any other men were willing to go. To my mind that sort of one of a kind fearlessness is a much better example than a father who gave up what he loved because the world is a dangerous place.
Irwin didn't die in some traffic accident or of a heart attack. It isn't as if he didn't provide extensivley for his family. He went out wrestling aligators, snakes and, finally, swimming in shallow water with a 220 pound stingray that got in a lucky shot. The entire world mourned his death because they knew he was special. May one percent of us end with such glory!