The leg-spin bowler took over 1000 wickets during a career that included test match appearances for his country as well as playing for Victoria in his homeland and in England with Hampshire. He was 52.
A statement from his management confirmed the news: “Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” they said in a statement. “The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
Warne’s death follows another loss in the cricketing world – Rod Marsh – who Warne had paid tribute to on Twitter just hours before his own passing.
A stunning delivery in the second Test of the 1993 Ashes Series was dubbed ball of the century and received worldwide acclaim to put Warne’s cricketing profile on the map.
After his playing career, Warne became a well-known media personality and was often involved in punditry, commentary and analysis – most recently on The Ashes series. He also became involved in the poker circuit away from the game.
Tributes from around the world were paid to the cricket great.
Mike Gatting, batsman for Warne’s famed ‘ball of the century’ at Old Trafford told Sky: “I’m devastated and feel for his mum and family. He did an awful lot for people off the pitch and charity work that wasn’t well-known.
“Warney will always be, certainly from my point of view, number one. He had everything a cricketer needed. Self confidence, discipline, and desire – and he had time to enjoy it too.”
Celtic manager, and fellow Australian, Ange Postecoglou said: “We have lost a brilliant man, a phenomenal guy with such personality, energy and spirit and, of course, Australia has lost one of its true sporting icons.
“Indeed, I’m not sure Australia will ever find anyone quite like him again. For me, he was just one of the greatest and an absolute one of a kind.
“Across Australia and, in fact, the whole sporting world, Shane’s loss will be deeply felt. Above all, though, the loss to Shane’s family will be so difficult to bear and to them I extend my sincere and deepest sympathy.”
Gary Lineker tweeted: “Terribly saddened and shocked to hear the news that Shane Warne has died. The greatest spin bowler of all time. Can’t quite believe it. RIP Shane.”
Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan posted a broken heart icon alongside the message: “Love ya King.”
TV host Stephen Fry added: “Heartbroken to wake to news of the death of Shane Warne. Heart was what he was all about; a huge heart and, of course, matchlessly dazzling skill with a cricket ball.
“He single-handedly (wristedly) put the art of spin back where it belonged – at the top of cricket. A true great.”
England’s official cricket account also paid tribute, saying Warne “changed cricket” and was “one of the greatest of all time”.