Private funeral for croc-hunter Irwin

CROCODILE hunter Steve Irwin will be given a private funeral in the next week while thousands are expected to pay their respects at a public memorial service sometime later.

CROCODILE hunter Steve Irwin will be given a private funeral in the next week while thousands are expected to pay their respects at a public memorial service sometime later.

The 44-year-old was killed on Monday by a stingray while filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.

In a short statement today, Irwin's father, Bob, said the family and closest friends would attend the private service, confirming that the government offer of a state funeral had been turned down.

No details were given on the possible location for a public memorial to the much-loved TV star, although the Irwin family's 60-acre Australia Zoo has been mentioned.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard had said a state funeral would be appropriate for Irwin because he was so well-loved and because of his services to Australia as an unofficial tourism ambassador.

Since his death, several hundred thousand dollars in online donations have poured in to one of Irwin's wildlife charities.