The body of cricketing legend Shane Warne arrived home on Australian soil on Thursday night ahead of a private family funeral.
The 52-year-old died from a suspected heart attack at a Thai resort on March 4, sparking widespread grief as fans mourned the loss of one of the world’s greatest cricket players.
A chartered Dassault Falcon 7X left Thailand’s capital Bangkok at 8.25am local time carrying Warne’s body and arrived at Melbourne’s Essendon Fields Airport about 8.35pm on Thursday.
The plane taxied to a private hangar where police officers were stationed outside.
Thai Police earlier this week revealed autopsy results showed Warne’s death was due to natural causes.
Following his death on the Thai resort island of Koh Samui on Friday, Warne’s body was taken by ferry to the mainland city of Surat Thani, and then on to Bangkok.
Warne’s family has accepted the government’s offer of a state funeral, to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, but will first farewell him at a private ceremony in the coming days.
The MCG was the stage of the leg-spinner’s famous Ashes hat-trick in 1994 and 700th Test wicket on Boxing Day in 2006, his final series before he retired from international cricket.
The stadium is across town from Upper Ferntree Gully, the outer Melbourne suburb where Warne was born.
Son’s Warne tribute
Warne’s son Jackson on Thursday night honoured his father by posting a video montage of memories they shared together on TikTok.
The video, entitled Memories of dad, included images of the pair together in the past two decades, set to Coldplay’s Yellow. See above.
“Thank you everyone for the overwhelming amount of support, messages and love,” the video’s caption reads.
Warne’s family issued a statement on Monday night describing the night of his death as the beginning of “a never-ending nightmare”.
“Looking to a future without Shane is inconceivable,” his father and mother, Keith and Brigitte said.
“Hopefully the mountain of happy memories we all have will help us cope with our ongoing grief.”
Jackson Warne 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 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.
Ticket information for the state funeral is yet to be released, but the Victorian premier said there will no crowd cap at the MCG, which can hold up to 100,000 spectators.
“It’s a fitting venue to say goodbye to someone who created so many indelible memories on that ground,” Premier Daniel Andrews said this week.
“It’s Australia’s greatest sports stadium. He, without a doubt, is one of Australia’s greatest sportspeople, and it’s the best place to say goodbye to him.
“We wish we weren’t doing it, of course, he’s gone too soon.”