He was apparently struck in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary.
Although his persona was a bit much for me at times, my kids loved his shows and really enjoyed his enthusiasm.
My clearest memory of his shows was one where he was climbing over some brush-covered rocks, looking for a rattlesnake. He found it, but immediately found more. A nest of them. Between his legs. I think he had each foot on a rock, and the nest was in between the rocks. Talk about being a bit vulnerable.
And though he tried (a bit) to mask it, he appeared to be quite startled and made an immediate decision to get out of there. He muttered something along the lines of “Seriously…I’m moving right NOW…” I thought it was a credit to them that they left the bit in, in part to show that even the experts aren’t always in control.
Sadly, sometimes the consequences of startling moves by God’s creatures can be quite serious.