Steve Irwin
'The Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin poses with three pure bred Sumatran tiger cubs at Mogo Zoo, south of Sydney, April 27, 2004. REUTERS/Will Burgess

"The crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin would have celebrated Wednesday his 55th birthday.

The Australian environmentalist and nature expert was born in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon in 1962 and rose to fame for his television series, “The Crocodile Hunter,” which ran from 1997 to 2004. Despite no formal degree in wildlife conservation, he was known for his knowledge and care for animals — which he learned at his parents' wildlife park, which is now known as the Australia Zoo. His father Robert “Bob” Irwin taught him to catch and handle crocodiles. He also received a python as a gift from his dad on his sixth birthday.

Despite being a popular figure in Australia, Irwin attracted criticism for his stunts with some claiming he exploited the animals that appeared on his shows. In 2004, he was also criticized for feeding a crocodile while holding his infant son.

Irwin died on Sep. 4, 2006, while filming the documentary series, “Ocean’s Deadliest,” off the coast of Port Douglas, Queensland. A stingray stabbed him multiple times with its tail in the chest. His death is reported to be one of the few fatalities from stingray captured on video in Australian history.

Check out some notable quotes below from Irwin:

"Born a wildlife warrior, die a wildlife warrior."

"I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."

"Crikey, mate. You're far safer dealing with crocodiles and western diamondback rattlesnakes than the executives and the producers and all those sharks in the big MGM building."

"Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first."

"I bled a lot. I got hit across the face. We couldn't film for seven days. I got hit, whacked, underwater, across the face. I finished the shot, got into the boat and blood started coming out."

"I've probably saved thousands of peoples' lives with my educational message on snake bites, how to get in around venomous anything."

"No, snakes are no problem. I'd go to any country, anywhere, any snakes, not a problem."

"Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing"

"You know, you can touch a stick of dynamite, but if you touch a venomous snake it'll turn around and bite you and kill you so fast it's not even funny."

"My belief is that what comes across on the television is a capture of my enthusiasm and my passion for wildlife."

"I believe our biggest issue is the same biggest issue that the whole world is facing, and that's habitat destruction."