LATEST: The Australian government is planning to honour tragic naturalist Steve Irwin with a state funeral in response to the staggering outpouring of national grief following his death on Monday (04SEP06). THE CROCODILE HUNTER star was killed when a stingray speared him through the heart as he swam by the Great Barrier Reef while filming an underwater documentary. The nation's Prime Minister, John Howard, has already spoken of his "shock and distress" at the death of Irwin. Meanwhile, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website had to temporarily shut down after unprecedented numbers of people desperately searched the site for news on the beloved TV star. Workers at Irwin's Australia Zoo are planning to erect a memorial in honour of its founder - hundreds of Australians have already flocked to the park to place makeshift shrines around the park.