Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 52.
Warne took 708 Test wickets, the second most of all time, in 145 matches across a stellar 15-year international career. He had been found unresponsive in his villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday, said his management company.
“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack,” it added.
“Despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived.
“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
Warne helped Australia win the 1999 50-over World Cup and claimed 293 dismissals in 194 one-day internationals between 1993 and 2005. In 2000, he was named one of the five Wisden cricketers of the century, alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Viv Richards. He retired from international cricket in 2007 following Australia’s 5-0 Ashes clean sweep of England at home. Warne also retired from first-class and List A cricket later that year, ending a seven-year spell with Hampshire, who he had captained since 2004. He continued to play Twenty20 franchise cricket until retiring from all formats in 2013. Warne worked regularly as a commentator and pundit, as well as holding coaching roles at T20 franchises.
He is survived by his three children with former wife Simone Callahan. His death comes on the same day as legendary former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died aged 74 of a heart attack, and was announced shortly after the close of play on day one of Australia’s first Test in Pakistan. Warne’s mastery of leg-spin – a style of bowling that declined during the 1970s and 1980s when fast bowlers dominated – revolutionised cricket. His magnificent control and canny variations bewildered even the greatest batters of his generation.
Only Sri Lankan off-spinning great Muttiah Muralitharan, with 800 dismissals, has taken more Test wickets than Warne. He was also a fine slip fielder and capable lower-order batter, scoring 3,154 runs at an average of 17.32 and is the only batter in Test history to surpass 3,000 runs without making a century – falling for 99 twice, against New Zealand in 2001 and against England in 2005.
Warne was a larger-than-life figure whose fame transcended cricket and his sense of fun inspired successive generations of fans.
“Shane was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time,” said Australia men’s Test captain Pat Cummins.
“So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result.”
Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley added: “Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed.
“He loved cricket, had an extraordinarily astute understanding of the game and his influence and legacy will last for as long as it is played.
“We are in a state of complete shock at his sudden passing and our thoughts are with his family, his many friends and the legion of fans from all over the world who loved and admired Warnie for his unbelievable bowling skills, his humour, warmth and engaging personality.”