Cricketer Shane Warne died of 'natural causes,' Thai police say

6 March 2022, 09:38 | Updated: 7 March 2022, 14:07

Shane Warne's ex-fiancé Elizabeth Hurley has paid tribute to her "beloved lionheart"
Shane Warne's ex-fiancé Elizabeth Hurley has paid tribute to her "beloved lionheart". Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Cricket legend Shane Warne died of 'natural causes,' Thai police have said.

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The Australian cricketer died aged 52 after being found unresponsive at his villa there on Friday.

His family have accepted the offer of a state funeral for the cricketing great after the world was shocked by his death last week.

Australian MP Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, said on social media that the occasion would be an opportunity for the country to honour the sporting superstar.

"I've spoken with the Warne family again today and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral to remember Shane," Andrews posted on Twitter.

"It will be an opportunity for Victorians to pay tribute to his contribution to his sport, to our state and the country. Details will be finalised in the coming days."

Tributes have flooded in from across the world following the death of one of sport's most charismatic and loved figures, who could not be revived after being found unresponsive in his Thailand villa on Friday, following a suspected heart attack.

His ex-fiancé Elizabeth Hurley called him her "beloved lionheart".

The actress and model, 56, was engaged to the Australian from September 2011 until they split in December 2013, with their relationship attracting significant media attention.

Hurley posted a series of photos on Instagram of them together, including one of them kissing on a beach. Another shows them smiling and holding hands at a charity cricket match.

Hurley, best known for starring in the Austin Powers and Bedazzled films, wrote: "I feel like the sun has gone behind a cloud forever. RIP my beloved Lionheart @shanewarne23."

Her son with American businessman Steve Bing, Damian, also paid tribute, writing on Instagram: "I'm still trying to wrap my head around this... SW was a father figure to me for most of my formative years and was truly one the best men I've ever known.

"My heart is broken. Thinking of and sending love to all SW's family."

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Damian Hurley, 19, paid tribute to Shane Warne following his death
Damian Hurley, 19, paid tribute to Shane Warne following his death. Picture: Alamy

Fans have continued to lay floral tributes at the Melbourne Cricket Ground's Shane Warne statue, while the stadium's Great Southern Stand will be renamed the SK Warne Stand in the spin king's honour.

Many celebrity friends of Warne have also paid tribute, recalling fond memories and remembering him as a "true cricket legend".

Sir Elton John shared a photo of himself with Warne and Hurley, and he referenced the death of Rod Marsh, the Australian cricketer who also died on Friday.

He wrote: "A tragic day for Australian cricket. Two legends passing is heartbreaking. I knew them both and played cricket with Rod in Perth. A very special and fearless man.

"Shane was a magical bowler and such huge fun. They were both Australians through and through, which made them so endearing.

"My sympathies to their families and loved ones."

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Ed Sheeran said he had spoken to Warne on the phone this week to mark the anniversary of the death last year of music mogul Michael Gudinski.

The singer-songwriter shared a photo of Warne and Gudinski together on Instagram and wrote: "The world keeps taking incredible people away.

"I spoke to Shane on the anniversary of Michael's passing this week saying we were both raising a glass of 707 in his honour, and now this news comes out.

"Shane was the kindest heart, and always went above and beyond to make people feel welcome and special. Such a gentleman.

"He gave so many hours and years of his life to bring joy to others, and was such an amazing friend to me. Il bloody miss you mate. Absolutely gutted."

Warne shot to global fame with the 'ball of the century' to bamboozle and dismiss Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series against England.

He went on to claim 708 Test wickets, the second-highest haul in history, in a 15-year career spanning 145 matches.

The bullish spinner also racked up 293 one-day international wickets, helping Australia win the 1999 World Cup.