Legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne, widely regarded as the greatest leg-spinner of all time, has died aged 52, according to his management company.
Warne’s management said in a statement on Friday he died in Koh Samui, Thailand, of a suspected heart attack.
“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” the statement said.
“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
Thai Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.
Warne’s associates staying in the same villa tried unsuccessfully to revive him, police added.
Warne is regarded as one of the finest leg-spin bowlers of all time after a test career which spanned from 1992 to 2007.
He took 708 test wickets, a tally surpassed only by Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 800.
He also had 293 wickets from 194 one-day internationals and won the man-of-the-match award when Australia beat Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final.
Warne was also a handy late-order batsman. Though his test average was only 17.3 he took the role seriously and holds the record for the most test runs (3,154) without a century – his highest score being 99.
It was not all plain sailing, however, and his career was peppered with off-field controversy. He was punished for feeding information to a bookmaker, sending inappropriate text messages, and verbally abusing fellow players.
The wily spinner frequently courted controversy and served a 12-month ban after testing positive for banned diuretics in 2003.
His most serious offence came in 2003 when he failed a doping test for a diuretic on the eve of the World Cup and was banned from all cricket for a year – ruling him out of Australia’s defence of the trophy.
He returned from the layoff refreshed and revitalised, and in 2005 took an incredible 96 wickets through the year. His final test was at Sydney in 2007 when he took his 1,000th international wicket in all forms of the game.
He also played in the Indian Premier League and other Twenty20 competitions before retiring from all forms of cricket in 2013 but continued to be involved in the game as a broadcaster.
Tributes pour in
Al Jazeera’s sports correspondent Andy Richardson, speaking from Doha, said Warne was a larger than life figure and has been “central to cricket”.
“He elevated the game. He elevated Australia,” he added.
Australian batsman David Warner said he was “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,” he tweeted.
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) March 4, 2022
Warne’s great Indian rival Sachin Tendulkar was “shocked, stunned & miserable” at the death of the Australian stalwart.
“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.,” Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
West Indies batting great Viv Richards also paid his tribute on Twitter.
“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,” he wrote.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said: “I was lucky enough to know him well. The magic will stay forever.”