Shane Warne's family offered state funeral after sudden death of cricket legend

4 March 2022, 14:17 | Updated: 5 March 2022, 10:03

Mike Gatting paid tribute to the cricket legend
Mike Gatting paid tribute to the cricket legend. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Megan Hinton

The family of Shane Warne has been offered a state funeral after the cricket legend died at the age of 52 in his holiday Villa in Thailand on Friday.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Warne's management released a brief statement to confirm his tragic passing, from a suspected heart attack.

The larger-than-life character whose 708 Test wickets has only been surpassed by contemporary rival and fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan - could not be revived after being found unresponsive on the resort of Ko Samui.

"Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” the statement reads.

"The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course."

Following the announcement, Daniel Andrews, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria, revealed he had contacted Warne's family about a state fuenral.

A statement said: "Shane Warne didn't just inspire a cricket generation - he defined it.

"To us, he was the greatest - but to his family, he was so much more.

"Our hearts are breaking for Shane's family and friends - and they are in the thoughts of all Victorians.

"I have offered a state funeral to his family so Victorians can pay tribute to his legacy and contribution to our state, community and country."

The cricket world was left rocked by Warne's death, with the victim of his "ball of the century" - a devilish delivery in the 1993 Ashes series against England - paying tribute to his former opponent.

Speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick, Mike Gatting said: "Just totally devastated, I thought somebody was just pulling a prank, it didn't seem at all fair or right or even true.

"He's larger than life, he was one of those sort of guys that you would've thought would have kept going for years and years. He loved the game, he loved his cricket, and he was an inspiration to thousands of people."

He said he was "in the top two in the world and I think if you talk about spin bowling people would probably tell you he was the best of all time".

"It turned an awfully long way – simple as that," he told LBC of the ball of the century, which took Gatting's bails.

"We used to have a joke about it and talk about it. The initial chat we had, he said 'mate, just tried to get it down the other end mate, I just tried to spin it and it ended up where it did and you were good enough to miss it'."

The cricketer reportedly landed in Thailand yesterday, after he was spotted chatting to fans at the airport, appearing to be holiday with a group of friends.

The Australian cricket commentator and former international cricketer, captained the Australian national team in One Day Internationals.

He was widely considered one of the greatest bowlers in cricket history, and at the turn of the millennium, he was rated among the top five greatest cricketers of the 20th century.

Read more: Fifteen years jail for protesting against the war: Putin's new crackdown against dissent

Read more: Mum and ex-partner found guilty of killing Kyrell Matthews, 2, during 'horrific' attack

His death comes as another devastating shock for the cricket community, after Rod Marsh passed away on Thursday following a major heart-attack. 

On Friday morning, Warne joined other sport stars to paid tribute on social media to Marsh, writing: "Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed.

"He was a legend of our great game and an inspiration to so many young boys and girls.

"Sending lots & lots of love to Ros and the family. RIP mate."

Irfan Pathan was one of many posting tributes to Warne on Friday afternoon, writing: "Shane Warne was a crowd puller. Magician with the ball. Absolute legend of Australian cricket. First IPL winning captain. He will be missed, He will be remembered forever."

Jemima Goldsmith, who was close friends with Shane Warne, tweeted: "Devastating, shocking news about Shane Warne. A sporting hero for so many, inc my sons. And a giant-hearted friend."

Whilst TV presenter Lizzie Cundy said she and Shane Warne shared "many laughs together" in a tribute online.

She said: "I'm absolutely devastated to have just heard my friend Shane Warne has past away. A true cricket legend and really lovely chap. We had many laughs together, I'm heartbroken. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Read more: 'No bars and prisoners called residents': Nick Ferrari blasts Raab over soft prisons

Read more: Zelenskyy 'survived three assassination attempts' since Russian invasion

Warne - who was the joint-leading wicket-taker as Australia won the 1999 World Cup and finished with 293 one-day dismissals in 194 matches - brought an illustrious 15-year international career to an end in 2007.

Following the deaths of Warne and Rod Marsh, Australia opener David Warner said: "Two legends of our game have left us too soon. I'm lost for words, and this is extremely sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Marsh and Warne family. I just can not believe it. #rip, you will both be missed."

Ian Botham added: "I've lost a great friend on and off the playing field. “One of the best” my thoughts are with Jackson Summer & Brooke....RIP Warnster."

Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said the news had left him in "agony" with grief saying his "magic will stay forever".

Boris Johnson met the international cricket legend Shane Warne at The Oval Cricket Ground in 2013
Boris Johnson met the international cricket legend Shane Warne at The Oval Cricket Ground in 2013. Picture: Alamy

Whilst most known for his iconic career on the pitch, Warne was also know for his extravagant life outside of cricket.

He was famously pictured in with models Coralie Eichholz and Emma Kearney following his divorce from from wife Simone, mother of his three children.

He is also remembered his engagement to English actress Liz Hurley in 2010, before the pair eventually split in 2013.

The England men's team are currently in the Caribbean, preparing for a three-Test series against the West Indies.

Ahead of the final day of their warm-up against a Cricket West Indies President's XI, the players and umpires stood in the middle for a minute's silence in honour of Warne.