Ed Sheeran has remembered Shane Warne as an “amazing friend” with the “kindest heart” following the news of his death at age 52.
The record-breaking Australian bowler could not be revived after being found unresponsive in his Thailand villa, after suffering a suspected heart attack.
Many celebrity friends of Warne have since paid tribute, recalling fond memories and remembering him as a “true cricket legend”.
Sheeran said he had spoken to Warne on the phone this week to mark the anniversary of music mogul Michael Gudinski, who died March last year, with both of them raising a glass in his honor.
The singer-songwriter shared a photo of Warne and Gudinski together on Instagram and wrote: “The world keeps taking incredible people away.
“I spoke to Shane on the anniversary of Michael’s passing this week saying we were both raising a glass of 707 in his honor, and now this news comes out.
“Shane was the kindest heart, and always went above and beyond to make people feel welcome and special. Such a gentleman.
“He gave so many hours and years of his life to bring joy to others, and was such an amazing friend to me. Il bloody miss you mate. Absolutely gutted.”
TV presenter Lizzie Cundy said in a tribute on Twitter that she and Warne shared “many laughs together”.
She said: “I’m absolutely devastated to have just heard my friend Shane Warne has past (sic) away.
“A true cricket legend and really lovely chap.
“We had many laughs together, I’m heartbroken. My thoughts and prayers are with his family from him.”
Similarly, Jemima Goldsmith, who was close friends with Warne, tweeted: “Devastating, shocking news about Shane Warne.
“A sporting hero for so many, inc my sons. And a giant-hearted friend.”
BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker recalled an appearance by Warne on the program in January this year.
I tweeted: “Genuinely can’t believe the sad news about the death of Shane Warne.
“He came on Breakfast just a couple of weeks ago & was as effervescent as ever.
“What a talent he was. He had a huge impact on cricket and he will be sorely missed by so many.
Sports pundit Gabby Logan paid tribute to Shane Warne calling him a “rock n roll” sports legend.
The 48-year-old TV presenter appeared with Warne in 2012 on Sky One’s sports panel show A League Of Their Own.
She tweeted: “There really are very few genuine sporting legends, rock n roll sports stars who transcend their genre, Shane was absolutely one of those. Rest in peace.”
As the England Cricket team prepare for a three-Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean, the players and umpires stood for a minute’s silence in honor of Warne.
The Victoria-born spinner was engaged to actress Elizabeth Hurley from September 2011 until they split in December 2013.
In 2016, Warne took part in the Australian version of the TV program I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
During his six-week stay in the jungle, he was bitten on the head by an anaconda during a Tucker Trial which required him to stick his head into tanks fills with African clawed frogs, scorpions, cockroaches, rats and snakes.
During his stay in the South African bush, Warne received criticism after being openly critical of Steve Waugh, who was his captain while playing for Australia.
He also received a backlash for his outspoken views on the theory of evolution, suggesting humans “started from aliens” on the TV show.
Warne was the joint-leading wicket-taker as Australia won the 1999 World Cup and finished with 293 one-day dismissals in 194 matches. He ended his illustrious 15-year international career in 2007.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.