Shane Warne’s body is expected to arrive back in Australia within hours, as his grieving family begins to plan private and public services to farewell the cricket legend.
Warne’s body was reportedly being prepared for a repatriation flight from Thailand to Melbourne, after Thai authorities confirmed his death was not suspicious.
Family friend Eddie McGuire said Warne’s family hoped his body would arrive in Melbourne late on Tuesday as expected, to assist with funeral preparations.
“That’s the first step out of the way and the family is able to start mourning, start to plan for the private funeral and then for the memorial service, which hopefully will be at the MCG,” he told Channel Nine.
The Nine Network reported that an Australian government charter flight from Bangkok was being organised.
It came after Thai police said on Monday that autopsy results showed the 52-year-old had died from a suspected heart attack, confirming his death was due to natural causes with no signs of foul play.
Samui Hospital deputy director Songyot Chayaninporamet said the autopsy showed Warne died of a “congenital disease”.
Warne’s body was taken by ferry to the Surat Thani mainland on Sunday, after his sudden death on the Thai resort island of Koh Samui last Friday.
He was then transported to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, on Monday night, ahead of a return flight to Australia.
Warne’s family issued a statement on Monday night, saying the night of his death on March 4 was the beginning of “a never-ending nightmare”.
“Looking to a future without Shane is inconceivable, hopefully the mountain of happy memories we all have will help us cope with our ongoing grief,” his father and mother, Keith and Brigitte said.
Warne’s son Jackson wrote: “To my brother, my best friend, to my Dad, I love you so much. I don’t think anything is ever going to fill the void you have left in my heart.”
Warne’s youngest daughter Summer said she missed her dad “so much already” and wished she could have hugged him “tighter in what I didn’t know were my final moments”.
Eldest daughter Brooke said she loved him “to infinity and back” and would miss him forever.
“I am lucky and will forever be so proud to call you my Dad forever,” she wrote.
There were more tributes for Warne on Tuesday, with former Australian captain Michael Clarke breaking down in tears as he remembered his late friend.
“I don’t think I will ever say goodbye,” an emotional Clarke told the Nine Network.
“No more crying. My God.
“Yeah, it will be hard. It will be hard. You know, I see they have named a stand after him, which he definitely deserves. I’m sure he will get the send off that he deserves. Yeah. I don’t think I will ever say goodbye.”
Elsewhere, Hollywood actor Russell Crowe posted a photo to social media of what he said was one of his last dinners with Warne.
“Lots of love Shane,” he wrote.
Warne’s family have accepted the Victorian government’s offer of a state funeral, potentially to be held at the MCG. It will follow a private service for family and friends.