Shane Warne, Australian cricketing legend, dies aged 52 | Shane Warne
Shane Warne, the greatest kicker in cricketing history and an Australian icon who transcended the sport, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 52.
The news was confirmed by Warne’s management company on Friday and originally published on Fox Sports, the network he commentated for after a playing career that netted 708 Test wickets on 145 caps between 1992 and 2007.
A statement from MPC Entertainment to UK media said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that Shane Keith Warne died of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday March 4th.
“Shane was found unconscious in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff he could not be revived. The family asks for confidentiality at this time and will provide further details in due course.
Coming just 24 hours after Australian cricket lost former wicket-keeper Rod Marsh to a heart attack aged 74, news of Warne’s death shocked his former team-mates and opponents and numb as tributes poured in on social media. Warne himself paid tribute to Marsh.
Members of the current Australian squad learned the news while traveling home from the first day of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. Opener David Warner tweeted: “Two legends of our game left us too soon. I am at a loss for words and it is extremely sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Marsh and Warne family. I just can’t believe it. rip, we will miss you both.
Viv Richards, the former West Indies captain who, like Warne, was named one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the 20th century, tweeted: “Incredible. I am deeply shocked. This cannot be true. Rest in peace, @ShaneWarne. There are no words to describe how I feel right now. A huge loss for cricket.
Warne’s playing days figures were remarkable, his 708 Test wickets second only to Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muraliathan (800) and his 194 one-day internationals taking 293 kills and a World Cup winner’s medal in 1999. Although the rise of the Twenty20 format came after his international career, he played in the Indian Premier League, captained the Rajasthan Royals until the title in 2008, and played five seasons for Hampshire in English County cricket between 2000 and 2007.
But the numbers barely tell the story of a cricketer who transformed the art of leg-spinning after making his Test debut against India aged 22 despite just seven first-team matches class for Victoria. Although Warne’s debut was a disappointment, the following year he really announced himself on the world stage when his first Ashes cricket delivery – the ‘Ball of the Century’ – brought down baffled Englishman Mike Gatting, at Old Trafford.
Warne went on to leave an indelible mark on the history of the rivalry between the two nations, playing a part in six successive Ashes series wins and then producing arguably his best performance – 40 wickets, despite marriage problems off the field – in the famous Series of 2005 which saw England end 16 years of Australian domination.
In 1998 it emerged that Warne and Mark Waugh had been fined four years earlier for providing information to an Indian bookie during Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka. But his darkest moment in cricket came when he was suspended from all cricket for 12 months before the start of the 2003 World Cup after testing positive for a diuretic.
Retiring from international cricket after the 2006-07 Ashes, the urn safely recovered with a 5-0 whitewash, Warne was one of the game’s shrewdest tacticians; the greatest captain Australia has ever had, was the oft-said line about a cricketing brain that was always crackling with ideas and theories.
This continued into his post-game days as a commentator for Sky in the UK and Fox Sports in Australia, along with the mischievous, larrikin character who made headlines both at the beginning and end of the newspapers and proved so popular with the sporting public. He was engaged to actor Liz Hurley in 2010, a relationship that ended in 2013.
Warne leaves behind three children – Jackson, Brooke and Summer – from his 10-year marriage to Simone Callahan which ended in 2005.