Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has died of a suspected heart attack, aged just 52.
Warne died in a Thailand hotel on Friday local time while on holiday.
“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday 4th March,” his management company MPC Entertainment announced in a statement early Saturday Australian time.
“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff he could not be revived,” it said in a statement.
“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
The news came less than 24 hours after the death of fellow Australia cricket legend Rod Marsh, to whom Warne had only just publicly paid tribute.
Thai police told Reuters that Warne’s body had been taken for an autopsy and friends who found him would be interviewed, but added there were no signs of foul play.
Named one of the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century by ‘cricket bible’ Wisden when he was still midway through his career, Warne dominated the game as few others had.
“Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed,” Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.
“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.”
The leg-spinner remains Australia’s leading wicket taker and is second only behind Muthiah Muralidaran globally with 708 dismissals from 145 Tests.
Warne played one of the most influential roles in Australia’s golden era of cricket, launching himself into the public’s consciousness with the so-called ‘ball of the century’ that bowled England’s Mike Gatting in 1993.
He bowled Australia to the 1999 World Cup, helping bring his side back from the brink with unforgettable displays in the semi-final and final.
Warne’s abilities never waned, and he took a record 96 wickets in the penultimate year of his career, and remains one of Australia’s most recognisable sporting stars.
All up he finished with 1001 international wickets across all formats, earning spots in the ICC, Australian cricket and Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Teammate Adam Gilchrist took to social media, posting 12 broken hearts, while international greats Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Vaughan posted their shock and devastation.
The Australian Test team had just finished play on day one in Pakistan when the news broke.
“Hard to fathom,” a clearly emotional Australia captain Pat Cummins said.
“Warnie was an all-time great. A once-in-a-century type cricketer and his records will live on forever,” Cummins said.
“We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him. We all had posters on our walls, had his earrings.
“We loved so much about Warnie.”
“His showmanship, his charisma, his tactics, the way he just willed himself and the team around him to win games for Australia.”
Warne was named one of the five Wisden cricketers of the century in 2000, alongside Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs and Viv Richards.
He retired from international cricket in 2007 after Australia’s 5-0 home Ashes clean sweep of England.
Warne continued to play Twenty20 cricket in India and Australia until retiring from all forms of the game in 2013, but briefly returned to captain a Rest of the World side in a Bicentenary Celebration match at Lord’s cricket ground.
He worked regularly as a commentator, as well as holding coaching roles of several T20 sides.
Warne is survived by his three children, Brooke, Jackson and Summer, with former wife Simone Callahan.