Australian cricketer Shane Warne, one of the greatest leg spin bowlers of all time, whose talent and personality transcends the sport, died Friday at the age of 52.
Werne died of a heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand, his family confirmed in a statement.
“Shane was found unresponsive at the villa and, despite the best efforts of medical staff, was not resuscitated,” the statement said.
“The family is currently requesting privacy and will provide more details at an appropriate time.”
Thai police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.
Warne’s colleagues, who are staying in the same villa, tried to revive him, but failed, police added.
Known for reviving his leg spin technique, Warne made his test debut against India in 1992, and by the end of his 15-year international career, he bagged himself as a chubby spinner, establishing himself as one of the greatest giants in gaming history. 708 wickets in 145 tests.
He later retired from all cricket in 2013 after playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other Twenty20 competitions, but continued to play as a broadcaster. Often referred to as Australia’s best captain, he gave the Rajasthan Royals his first IPL title in 2008.
Warne also recorded 293 wickets in 194 one-days and won the Most Valuable Player award by Australia beating Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final.
Regarded as one of the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century, Warne was one of those prominent cricketers whose style and lifestyle often made headlines.
The cunning Spinner caused frequent controversy after testing positive for a banned diuretic in 2003 and received a 12-month ban.
Warne’s death is the second biggest blow to cricket Australia after another Australian legend Rodney Marsh passed away early on Friday.
The last post on Twitter 12 hours before Warne’s death was reported was a tribute to Marsh.
“It is sad to hear that Rod Marsh has passed away. He is the legend of our great game and has inspired many young boys and girls. Rod took a deep interest in cricket and gave a lot to the Australian and English players in particular. He sends a lot of love to Ros and his family.”
‘A fatal loss to the cricket world’
The cricket club expressed their shock at Warne’s sudden death as messages continued to flood social media websites.
Pakistani captain Baba Azam said it was “hard to believe” that Warne no longer exists. Azam wrote on Twitter: “He’s done a ton of damage to the world of cricket. He’s literally inspired generations of generations with his magical leg spins.”
Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakara said he felt “absolutely shocked and betrayed” when he heard of the death of “a legend and friend” and said he couldn’t believe it.
Pace’s great Waqar Younis shared a similar sentiment: “It’s been a very sad day for our cricket community. The biggest superstar of our generation. [is] all written”.
Meanwhile, Australian opener David Warner was saddened that “two legends”, Warne and Marsh, left too early.
“I’m at a loss for words and this is very sad,” he tweeted.
Warne’s great Indian rival, Sachin Tendulkar, was “shocked, shocked and disastrous” at the death of an Australian faithful.
“I will miss Warney. With you on and off the pitch, there’s never been a dull moment. We will always cherish on-field duels and off-field jokes. You always have a special place for India and Indians have a special place for you,” Tendulkar tweeted.
The great Sir Vivian Richards of the West Indies said he was “deeply shocked” after hearing the news of Warne’s death.
“This is not true, I can’t put into words how I feel right now,” he tweeted.
Veteran Shahid Afridi expressed his “deep condolences” to Warne’s family.
With the death of the Australian legend, he said, “cricket has lost what I think of as leg spin bowling college today.”
“I was inspired by his bowling from the beginning of my career and playing against him has always been a privilege,” Afridi added.
Pakistani bowler Shadab Khan praised Warne as a cricketer who “inspired a generation”.
“Warne…you are the reason many of us started spinning the bowling leg,” he tweeted.
“The absolute legend and champion of our game has left us,” India captain Rohit Sharma wrote on Twitter.
Former England hitter Ian Bell remembered Warne as his “growing hero and greatest player I’ve ever played”.
And former Indian hitter Gautam Gambhir described Warne as one of the few players who could “match his attitude with his natural talent”.
“Shane Warne made bowling look like magic!” he tweeted