Shane Warne: Heartbreaking tributes as world says final goodbye to cricketing legend

30 March 2022, 12:22 | Updated: 30 March 2022, 12:40

Shane Warne's father Keith (far left) and his three children Brooke Warne (L) Jackson Warne (R) and Summer Warne paid tribute to the cricketing legend at his state memorial service.
Shane Warne's father Keith (far left) and his three children Brooke Warne (L) Jackson Warne (R) and Summer Warne paid tribute to the cricketing legend at his state memorial service. Picture: Getty

By Sophie Barnett

Family, friends, and thousands of fans of legendary cricketer Shane Warne have said their final goodbyes at a touching state memorial service in Melbourne.

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The former leg-spinner, considered one of the greatest cricketers of all-time, died aged 52 earlier this month from a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Thailand.

A crowd of around 50,000 people gathered at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday to honour the life of the cricketing great, with his father Keith leading heartfelt tributes.

He said they can't imagine a future without Warne, admitting a life without him is "inconceivable".

During an emotional eulogy to his son, Keith said the day he passed away, on March 4 this year, was the "darkest day" in his family's life.

"The world lost a much-loved cricketing legend whose feats on and off the cricket field will go down in history for all time," Keith said, as he broke down in front of the crowd.

"Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable. We do take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more in his life of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes."

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

Warne also leaves behind his mother Bridgette, brother Jason and his three children Brooke, Jackson and Summer.

Keith added: "We are grateful the world loved our son as we did and thankfully touched so many lives in so many ways.

"Shane said of himself 'I smoked, I drank, and I played a little cricket'.

"Mate, your mother and I can't imagine a life without you. You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us. And for being such a loving and caring son.

"Rest in peace. Love you, Mum and Dad."

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

Shane Warne's daughter Summer Warne speaks during the state memorial service for the former Australian cricketer.
Shane Warne's daughter Summer Warne speaks during the state memorial service for the former Australian cricketer. Picture: Getty

A private funeral was held earlier this month, attended by dozens of celebrities including ex-England captain Michael Vaughan.

Warne's brother Jason also spoke movingly on stage about his sibling, describing him as the "best brother I could have ever asked for".

"He was my mate and made me a better person, we pushed each other every step of the way but for the right ways," Jason said.

"The bonds created through sport last a lifetime. The bond of brothers lasts a lifetime."

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Shane Warne children, Jackson Warne (C), Summer Warne (R) and Brooke Warne, unveil the Shane Warne Stand during the state memorial service.
Shane Warne children, Jackson Warne (C), Summer Warne (R) and Brooke Warne, unveil the Shane Warne Stand during the state memorial service. Picture: Getty

Jason said Warne will leave a "massive hole" in his heart that will "never be filled".

"I will always love him and will always miss my big brother. Rest in peace, mate."

During the emotional memorial Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman paid tribute to Warne via video link, with the former saying the former spinner's "light will continue to burn bright in our memories forever more".

Elton John performed his classic hit 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me' via video link, dedicating the song to Warne's children Brooke, Summer and Jackson.

Ed Sheeran performed his hit 'Thinking Out Loud' also via video link and Robbie Williams sang 'Angels' in a pre-recorded clip.

Elton John performs via video link from the United States during the state memorial service for former Australian cricketer Shane Warne.
Elton John performs via video link from the United States during the state memorial service for former Australian cricketer Shane Warne. Picture: Getty

Also in attendance at the stadium, where Warne, one of cricket's biggest characters, took an Ashes hat-trick and his 700th Test wicket, were his former teammates Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds.

A panel, hosted by Mark Howard, and included some of cricket's greatest luminaries - Australian trio Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Merv Hughes, England's Nasser Hussain and West Indies' Brian Lara, described Warne as a "genius" and a "genuine" man.

Former Australia fast bowler Hughes brought some laughs from the assembled crowd when he said "dead-set bogan".

Ex-England captain Hussain referred to Warne as an "entertainer" while Windies great Lara called his old rival "the king".

Warne's children Summer, Jackson and Brooke were applauded during the service as they headed on to the stage with the song 'Summer of 69' ringing out around the stadium.

Summer, the youngest of Warne's children, said it has been exactly 26 days since he went to heaven and she misses him "more than anything in the whole wide world".

"I would do anything just to have one more of your cuddles and to hear your voice tell me how proud of me you were and how much you loved me," she said.

"I know you will be forever watching me and be by my side the whole time. I will cherish the 20 years of memories we have and I'm reunited with you again. I want to say thank you Dad.

"You will always live forever inside my heart, Dad, and I will continue your legacy. Forever my Dad, no matter where you are. May you now rest in eternal paradise, I love you so unconditionally much."

A video montage focused on Warne's charity work, set against the backdrop of piano music from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who then performed an acoustic version of his band's hit 'Yellow'.

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