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Tributes pour in for Shane Warne following shock death

Friday 4 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Australia, Regional

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Tributes pour in for Shane Warne following shock death

The cricket world is in shock after the sudden death of Shane Warne, one of the greatest players of the sport.

Warne, 52, died of a suspected heart attack while in Koh Samui, Thailand, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Named one of Wisden Cricket's five greatest players of the 20 century, Warne took 708 Test wickets for Australia, including 195 against England alone - the most of any player against a single team.

The news of Warne's death was shattering to many in the cricket world.

In Antigua, where England are playing a warm-up match on their tour of the West Indies, a minute's silence was held in remembrance of Warne.

Warne's death comes one day after the passing of former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh.

Current Test opener David Warner paid tribute to both men on social media in the early hours of Saturday.

"I'm lost for words, and this is extremely sad," Warner wrote.

"I just can not believe it."

Steve Smith, Australia's Test vice captain, also paid tribute to both Warne and Marsh on social media.

"Hard to fathom that we've lost 2 Australian legends within 24 hours," Smith wrote on Instagram.

Current Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon called Warne the greatest of all time on Instagram.

Lyon, who has taken more than 400 Test wickets for Australia, said he was lost for words after receiving the news.

While the shock was delivered in the very early hours of Saturday AEDT, many around the world were quick to play their tributes to the sport's greatest spin bowler and a giant personality.

Sir Vivian Richards, who was another of Wisden's five greatest players of the 20th century, wrote of his disbelief at the loss of Australia's greatest bowler.

"I am shocked to the core. This can't be true," Sir Vivian wrote.

The Australian men's cricket team began their tour of Pakistan on Friday in the first of three Test matches.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam called Warne an inspiration to all aspiring spin bowlers.

"Such a devastating loss for the cricket world. He literally inspired generations with his magical leg spin," Azam wrote.

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar posted a video to Twitter praising who he called one of the games greatest players.

But some of the most praising tributes came from England, a country that embraced Warne despite his punishment of the old enemy.

In a short statement, England Cricket called Warne - "A legend. A genius."

Lord's Cricket Ground highlighted Warne's accomplishments at the home of cricket, winning the 1999 world cup final there and never losing a Test match.

"He will be remembered as one of the greats of our game," it wrote.

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said he would always treasure the battles he had with Warne on the field.

Tendulkar, considered by many to be the best batsman of his generation and one of the greatest ever, had many battles with Warne over more than a decade.

"You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you," he wrote.

But tributes for Warne stretched far beyond cricket circles.

Many swarmed to social media to pay tribute to Warne, who retired from Test cricket in 2007.

Australian musician and founding member of The Wiggle, Anthony Field called Warne a legend in his post.

"Very shocked to hear of the passing of Warnie. Rest In Peace, Legend."

Actor Magda Szubanski described herself as "in complete shock:" after learning of Warne's death. Her beloved TV character Sharon Strzelecki from Kath and Kim married a Shane Warne impersonator, Wayne Shaun - a role played by Warne himself.

"I've woken in the middle of the night to this terrible terrible news," she wrote.

English actor and writer Stephen Fry said he was heartbroken by the news of Warne's death.

"He single-handedly (wristedly) put the art of spin back where it belonged - at the top of cricket."

- ABC