The Australian wildlife filmmaker, Steve Irwin, has been killed while diving off Australia's northeast coast.

Mr Irwin, popularly known as the 'Crocodile Hunter', died after his chest was punctured by a stingray barb off Port Douglas.

Mr Irwin, 44, was filming a documentary about the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Irwin won a global following for his dare-devil antics but also triggered outrage in 2004 by holding his then one-month-old baby while feeding a snapping crocodile at his Australian zoo.

The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, said: 'I really do feel Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son.

'He took risks, he enjoyed life. He brought immense joy to millions of people, particularly to children, and it's just such a terrible loss.'