Legendary Australia cricketer Shane Warne, one of the greatest bowlers in history, has died at the age of 52.
Warne’s management released a statement saying he had died of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand.
The statement read: “Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and 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.”
Leg-spinner Warne is the second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history with 708 wickets in 145 matches, behind only Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan’s tally of 800.
Warne took 1,001 international wickets in total, having also picked up 293 in 194 one-day internationals.
Warne will forever be remembered for producing the ‘Ball of the Century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993 and he took 195 wickets at 23.25, with 11 five-fours and four 10-wicket match hauls, against England.
Reflecting on that delivery, Gatting told Sky Sports News: “I knew that it was a leg break, but I didn’t expect it to spin that much. I’m not sure, he expected it to spin that much. He just said he tried to get it down the other end, as best he could. Well, it was a bit too good for me.
“The nice thing was, I suppose, as we always say, he said: ‘Thanks mate for that, it started my career off’. The only thing that I could say was that it was a bit too good for me, like many others who were to suffer the same fate.
“I don’t mind him having done that and got 700-odd Test wickets; I’d have been really upset if he’d have only got 37 Test wickets.
“He was just hugely inspirational. He just loved the game. He was so competitive; he had a great understanding of the game, and it was great just talking to him about the game.
“He had so many lovely ideas and different ideas, and his passion and enjoyment was always there. He always wanted to see people improve and the game improve.”
Warne’s impact on the game saw him named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Viv Richards.
Since retiring from the game in 2013, he worked as a pundit for Sky Sports and Director of Cricket Bryan Henderson said: “We are devastated at the loss of Shane. On the pitch, he was simply the greatest. Off the pitch, he was a wonderful and loyal friend.
“Sky Sports Cricket will pay tribute to Shane over the coming days – but no words can capture his contribution to the game, and our shock and sadness that he has left us so early. His repertoire of magic on the field, in the commentary box and in life itself will never be forgotten, and our hearts go out to his family and friends on this saddest of days “
Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed. He was a legend of our great game & an inspiration to so many young boys & girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket & gave so much-especially to Australia & England players. Sending lots & lots of love to Ros & the family. RIP mate❤️
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne)
Warne had tweeted earlier on Friday to pay tribute to Rod Marsh following the former Australia wicketkeeper’s passing from a heart attack at the age of 74.
The world of sport paid tribute to Warne, with greats like Richards and Kumar Sangakkara among those expressing their shock and sadness.
India great Sachin Tendulkar proclaimed himself “shocked, stunned and miserable” at the news. Tweeting a picture of the pair together at the Lord’s bicentenary match in 2014, Tendulkar added: “Will miss you Warnie. There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on-field duels & off-field banter. You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you.”
Absolutely shocked and gutted to hear about @ShaneWarne legend and friend. Just Can’t believe it.
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2)
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
— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham)
Shocked, stunned & miserable…
Will miss you Warnie. There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on field duels & off field banter. You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you.
Gone too young! pic.twitter.com/219zIomwjB
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt)
Unbelievable. I am shocked to the core. This can’t be true…
Rest In Peace, @ShaneWarne. There are no words to describe what I feel right now. A huge loss for cricket. pic.twitter.com/uZdEdNz0x9
— Sir Vivian Richards (@ivivianrichards)
England’s men’s team held a minute’s silence at their training base in Antigua in tribute to Warne and posted their tributes on social media.
Captain Joe Root said: “It has shocked us all in the dressing room. First thoughts go out to his family and his closest friends. Many condolences to all of his loved ones. I meant, it’s hard to know what to say really.
“My experiences of Shane were someone that absolutely loved the game of cricket, was always a joy to be around and gave so much energy to the sport.
“Obviously as a kid growing up was a massive idol of mine and someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own and his skill levels were incredible.
“To have the opportunity to spend some time with him, get to know him a little bit – albeit not a lot – it’s deeply saddening to hear the news this morning.”
Sir Andrew Strauss, who famously fell to Warne during the 2005 Ashes in what became known as the ‘Edgbaston Ripper’, said: “He was literally the greatest showman. There will be other cricketers whose records that might be as good as his, but no-one played the game in the way that he did.
“It was the flamboyancy, the great aura that he had as a cricketer, his enthusiasm for the game, the incredible competitive spirit he had and then of course, the extraordinary skills that he had in those magical fingers of his.
“It was the greatest challenge that I ever had as a cricketer to face up against him and I’m sure there are countless other cricketers who would say the same thing.
“You were playing the grand master of the game and he made you know it as well.”
Current Australia Test captain Pat Cummins said: “Warnie was an all-time great, a once in a century type cricketer and his records will live on forever. We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him. We had posters of him on the wall and had his earrings. We love so much about Warnie, his showmanship, charisma and tactics. He just willed himself and the team around him to win games for Australia and above all else his incredible skill as a leg-spinner.
“So many guys in this team and squad who still hold him as a hero, they’re all-time favourite player and the loss that we’re all trying to wrap our heads around is huge. It’s been a really tough couple of days for Australian cricket after the passing of Rod [Marsh]. We just wish the best to both families, to Shane’s parents and his kids.
“The game was never the same after Warnie emerged and the game will never be the same after his passing. Rest in peace king.”
Warne spent his entire first-class domestic cricket career in Australia, playing for his native Victoria, but he represented Hampshire between 2000 and 2007, captaining them for the final three seasons he spent on the south coast.
Hampshire tweeted: “Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. One of the greatest. Rest in peace, Shane.”
He led Rajasthan Royals to the Indian Premier League title in 2008 and was appointed as the team’s mentor in 2018. A statement from the team on Twitter said: “Shane Warne. The name stands for magic. Our first Royal; a man who made us believe that impossible is just a myth. A leader who walked the walk, talked the talk, and turned underdogs into champions. A mentor who turned everything he touched into gold.
“We don’t have the words to express what we truly feel at the moment, but what we know is that the world is poorer today, as it will now exist without his smile, his brilliance, and his attitude to live life to its fullest. We’re completely heartbroken, as are millions of cricket fans all around the world.
“Warnie, you’re forever going to be our captain, leader, Royal. Rest in peace, legend.”
Warne also coached London Spirit in the inaugural edition of The Hundred in 2021.
We are devastated to hear the news that former Hampshire Cricket captain and legend Shane Warne has passed away.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
One of the greatest. Rest in peace, Shane. pic.twitter.com/DJmenkchDk
— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket)
Warne by numbers
708 – wickets for Warne in his 145 Tests, behind Sri Lanka star Muralitharan’s 800 but well ahead of third-placed England seamer James Anderson (640).
1,001 – Warne took another 293 wickets in one-day internationals to crack four figures for Australia in all formats – again only behind Muralitharan in the international record books.
99 – Warne’s best Test score as a batter – he has the most Test runs of any batsman not to make a century.
8-71 – his career-best figures across all first-class and limited-overs cricket, in a 1994 Test against England in Brisbane.
195 – Ashes wickets, the most in the competition’s history and 38 more than second-placed Glenn McGrath.
96 – Warne’s Test wicket tally in 2005, including 40 in a memorable Ashes series, remains a record for a player in a single calendar year. Muralitharan is closest behind him with 90 in 2006.
46 – 46 hat-tricks in Tests
‘Warne always had a smile on his face’
Sky Sports News’ James Cole, from Antigua with England:
There was an eerie response around the ground as word got around both amongst the media, the fans who were here watching and also the players as well. I understand that the players are in big shock in that dressing room. Mark Wood walked past me and he just gave me a nod and you could just tell that there’s a feeling of huge, huge sadness.
In terms of his figures and what he achieved, that Ball of the Century to remove Gatting – one of the greatest moments in Test cricket. Iconic.
708 Test wickets, over 1,000 international wickets, a huge part of England’s Ashes rivalry but he always was fair. He played hard but he was always fair. He was a good sportsman.
Simply can’t believe we are writing this.
RIP Shane Warne, one of the game’s best characters and finest bowlers.
Forever etched in Ashes history ✍️ pic.twitter.com/A2jOWPt6L5
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy)
I remember that 2005 Ashes, he always had a smile on his face, a wry smile. He was good friends with Kevin Pietersen, but he knew where the line was.
A huge character, I dealt with him a little bit during his commentary days. He was always kind, he always had time for you and there was no ego there.
It’s just hugely shocking, at just 52 years old, coming so close to the announcement that Rod Marsh had passed away last night, here our time. This is a double shock.
There’s a feeling of huge shock here at the ground, felt by everyone here including the England dressing room. There’s a feeling with everyone really that cricket has paled into insignificance and cricket has lost an absolute legend and, for many, a genius of the game.
The players from both sides observed a minute of silence. Ben Stokes was notably moved, with his head in his hands. Shane Warne a man Stokes would have known well from his IPL experience.
Warne had a very smart cricketing brain. You don’t take that many wickets without being very, very smart.
You wonder if he’d have been a great captain but perhaps his character didn’t align with the way the Australians see their captain; they always like their captain as a batsman and a very serious man.
But he had a brilliant cricketing brain and that’s why he was such a good pundit and commentator after cricket because he saw the things that maybe others didn’t, even the captains on the field. He always offered brilliant analysis when he worked for Sky and, as I say, he was always so much fun as well.
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 https://t.co/gduLY9bIwg
— David Warner (@davidwarner31)
Let’s not forget his influence in the county game as well, he was captain at Hampshire and had a close relationship with a number of those players, notably Kevin Pietersen.
Legend is a word that’s often used but it’s never more appropriate. He’s a legend of the game in every sense.
Trott: It was an honour to play against him
Jonathan Trott speaking to Sky Sports News
You are hoping it’s false news or something like that. It’s hard to take, really, and hard to believe. It’s really, really sad.
Whether you’re an Australian cricket fan or cricket lover, you couldn’t help but be glued to the television or love watching him. He was pure genius, and it was an honour to play against him.
It was just the way he carried himself, he had an aura about him, he was a pure student of the game. He would talk to anyone about the game, help anybody, and was always willing to talk and listen, to share his advice and experiences.
Gatting: A lot of greats but Warne is my number one
Former England batter Mike Gatting
Absolutely devastated and just feel so sad for his mum and his family. When something like this happens it’s a huge loss to many, many people who watched him, were inspired by him and all of the things you didn’t see he did for kids off the pitch with the charities he worked for. It’s just hugely devastating.
Without a doubt, No 1 ever. There have been a lot of great cricketers, a lot of great spinners, a lot of great leg-spinners but I think that Warney will always be, certainly from my point of view, the number one.
He had all of the things that a cricketer needed; a lot of self-confidence, a lot of ability, the discipline, the passion, the desire, all of those sort of things. Above all, he had time to enjoy it as well, he had great fun playing cricket and I think that resonated with a lot of the youngsters.
The inspirational leg-spin that he bowled I’m sure inspired many, many guys to take up leg-spin bowling.
Compton: Warne saved Test cricket
England batter Nick Compton
His character and personality, his ability to be real and authentic are words that come to my mind.
His ability to adapt and grow as a player, his consistency through a long period of time. There are lots of bowlers and batsmen who have come onto the scene and had good series here and there, but he did it time and time again.
The longevity behind his career, his wickets, his records – all of that we can put to one side. The way that he ignited the game of cricket, Test cricket for many years has been under threat, it’s a game that requires skill but it’s a game that requires characters to uphold it.
When I look back at Test cricket, it’s no doubt that Shane Warne is one of the first names that comes to my mind and one of the main reasons why I wanted to go on and reach some of the heights that he did.