Bindi Irwin Opens Up About How Her Father's Tragic Death Changed Everything

Pam WrightLife

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Bindi Irwin was just a little girl when her father, Steve Irwin, tragically died.

It seemed as if the whole world mourned the loss of the Crocodile Hunter when he died after being attacked by a stingray in northern Australia in 2006, but none more so than eight-year-old Bindi.

Steve's death left Bindi, her mother Terri and her younger brother Robert, 11, without their "superhero."

"Dad was the strongest person I've ever known," Irwin, 17, told People magazine. "And when the strongest person is taken away, you kind of go, 'Oh my goodness. What are we going to do?'"

The loss left a hole in their family, but also created a tight bond between Terri, 51, and her kids.

"As a family, we've gotten so close. The three of us, no matter where we are in the world, we'll always stick together," says Irwin. "We can count on each other on the good days and bad days."

Currently, the family temporarily moved to Los Angeles in August so they could live together as Bindi Irwin competes with Derek Hough on season 21 of Dancing with the Stars.

Bindi says having the support of her mother and brother is a game-changer as she enters adulthood and begins to live in the spotlight, much like her father did.

"I think everyone is given those couple of people in life, whether they are related to you or not, that will stand by you no matter what," she said. "You have to treasure them because they come into your life for a reason. Sometimes you do just have to let go and be supported."

The teen told People her family gives her strength.

"And that's what's great about my family, I'm a strong individual, but I know I can always just lean on them and know that I have their love and support," said Bindi Irwin.

Pam Wright