The whole of Australia was in mourning over the weekend, as it was announced by officials in Thailand that the cricketing legend had passed away of natural causes aged 52. An official announcement was made on Friday by his management company, as it was revealed that despite the best efforts of medical staff and friends, he passed away following a suspected heart attack.
Since the announcement has been made, some of the biggest cricketing stars on the planet have paid homage to the leg-spinner, while other celebrities and politicians such as Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Scott Morrison have all tweeted their commiserations.
The Victorian Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered the Warne family a state funeral. It was something that the family agreed to on Sunday, and was announced by Dan Andrew MP on social media. He revealed that the details surrounding the funeral will be announced over the coming days, but it will give all Victorians a chance to pay tribute to the cricketing hero for his services to the country, state and sport that millions love.
Over the weekend, it was also revealed that there was no evidence of foul play in the post-mortem following the 52-year-old's death. The Thai police announced that the death was from natural causes, and his body will be released to travel back to Australia where the state funeral will take place.
He suffered his suspected heart attack while staying on Koh Samui island. Warne has only been on the Islands for a day when the incident took place and was planning on staying for the next three months. His importance in the sport and culture in Australia was evidently visible from the millions of tweets and social media posts paying homage to the sporting megastar.
There was no shortage of messages posted on social media over the weekend, which just highlighted how beloved the cricketing star was. Heartbreakingly, Warne’s death was announced just hours after he posted his own message to Rod Marsh, who passed just a day before. One of the most gut-wrenching messages honouring Warne came from Elizabeth Hurley. The two were engaged for two years between 2011 and 2013, and she stated that Warne was her ‘beloved lionheart’.
Her son, Damian Hurley, also posted on social media in honour of the cricketing legend, revealing that the 52-year-old was one of the ‘best men I’ve ever known; and called him a ‘father figure’ throughout his life. Good friend Elton John also took to social media to honour his friend and claimed it to be a ‘tragic day’ for Australian cricket. Rock legend Sir Mick Jagger also posted a message for the cricketing star, as he said he was the ‘greatest spin bowler’ of all-time.
For millions, Warne transcended the sport of cricket throughout his life and left a lasting legacy on the game, which enabled the sport to get new eyes as he was a larger than life character. Warne would go on to inspire generations of new players throughout his career, with many of the stars at the top of the game now citing the Australian as an inspiration for how they play the game.
Warne made his international debut for Australia in January 1992 against India and went on to play in 145 Test matches for his national team. He scored an incredible 3,154 runs throughout his career and averaged a batting average of 17.32. However, it was with the ball that he did the most damage, as he revolutionised leg spin. During his Test career, he took 708 wickets, which included a stunning five wickets in a single innings on 37 occasions.
He also took ten wickets in a match on ten occasions. His best bowling figures in Test cricket were 8/71. Warne was also prominent in ODI forms of the game, and scored 1,018 runs from the 194 matches played. He took 193 wickets, and averaged 25.73. The Australian also played in the IPL, and was part of the Rajasthan Royals team that won the first competition.
His legacy in the sport was revered, and his place in the history books was assured after he was inducted into both the Cricket Hall of Fame by Cricket Australia and the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2012 and 2013, respectively. His passion for the sport continued after he retired from the sport, as he worked on media coverage for Australia’s Nine Network and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
Warne’s legacy reaches far beyond what he achieved on the cricket field, as he also had a number of hobbies and interests outside of the sport. He did charity work for Tsunami humanitarian efforts in 2005, which included donating money through his Shane Warne Foundation. Warn also appeared on regular television shows, including Kath & Kim in 2007, A Question of Sport and was a regular poker player. His dedication to poker also saw him sign with 888Poker, where he remained until January 2015.
There was also a documentary released documenting his career titled ‘Shane: King of Spin’ which was released on Amazon just two months ago. He is also a part-owner of SevenZeroEight, which during the COVID-19 pandemic changed its production to produce hand sanitizer instead of gin.
The most important part outside of his cricketing career was his family. He had three children with ex-wife Simone Callahan, before becoming engaged to close friend Elizabeth Hurley in 2011.
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