Sports fans around the world have been shocked at the passing of cricketing superstar Shane Warne. The man generally regarded as the best spin bowler of all time died in Thailand from a suspected heart attack.
Warne was on a vacation on the holiday island of Koh Samui with a group of friends staying in a holiday villa.
Shane Warne’s management company confirmed his passing in this statement released late on Friday night in Thailand, and in the early hours of Saturday in Australia:
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.
Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived.
The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.
The Saturday and Sunday editions of Australia’s biggest-selling newspapers remade their front pages and included tributes to Warne.
Fox Cricket quickly programmed a special edition of Robert Craddock’s Cricket Legends series which ran back-to-back during the night and into Saturday morning.
During the interview, Craddock heard Warne talk about how the media – reporters and paparazzi – would stalk Warne looking for something for the front page.
In 2017, Craddock told Mediaweek’s Kruti Joshi about how the Cricket Legends series expanded from a proposed six episodes to multi seasons of interviews with crickets finest. At the time he told Mediaweek Shane Warne was on his guest list, and he got him soon after.
Shane Warne started in the media working for the then rights holder to Test Cricket in Australia – the Nine Network. Warne revealed to Robert Craddock that former Nine Network owner Kerry Packer looked after him, with the cricketer giving Packer his first-ever baggy green (Australian Test cricket cap).
Also during his time at Nine, Warne hosted a primetime talk show, Warnie, for Nine. The program only lasted a handful of episodes in 2010.
Warne was also a much sort-after guest for other TV shows and he had memorable appearances on a Michael Parkinson special in 2007 and more recently on Paul Murray Live in 2021.
He was a player and then mentor in the IPL, he was a guest panellist over the years on Nine’s The Footy Show. After departing the Nine Network when it lost the cricket rights to Foxtel and Seven, Warne signed with the Foxtel Group and was a key member of the Fox Cricket team, working most recently on its coverage of The Ashes during the Australian summer of 2021/2022.
Warne had fun on a number of TV series, with guest spots in Neighbours in 2006 and in Kath and Kim in 2007.
His most recent and successful media appearance was as the subject of the Amazon Prime Video special Shane: The King of Spin which launches earlier in 2022 – in select cinemas on January 6 and then on the Prime Video streaming platform on January 25.
Cricketers in the media who died too soon
Warne passed just hours after the news that Australian wicket-keeping great Rod Marsh died of a heart attack.
There have been several cricketers who later worked in the media who died too young.
Among them 3AW sports host David Hookes who died in 2004 at the age of 48.
More recently batsmen-turned-commentator Dean Jones passed away in 2020 aged 59.
Fox Cricket and SEN tributes
At the time of writing Fox Cricket is programming special tributes to its most famous former cricketer. On Saturday morning in addition to the Cricket Legends episode, the Fox Sports channel was playing a Mark Howard-hosted special where Warne chose his Top 50 cricket wickets.
SEN devoted network radio stations around Australia with a live program anchored by Andy Maher and Simon O’Donnell early on Saturday and then Craig Hutchison took over after 9am. The show spoke to Bill Lawry during the morning and also to the two Australian Test wicket-keepers who kept to Warne across close to the 20 years of his career – Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy. Both now also work in broadcasting for SEN. Former Australian cricket captain Alan Border and SEN host Gerard Whateley also joined the program which was broadcast as an audio show across Australia and New Zealand and on video via the SEN app.
Shane Warne podcasts
One of the great Shane Warne podcasts will be getting a workout over the next few days – episode 63, parts A and B, of The Howie Games. Host Mark Howard spent many hours alongside Warnie in the Fox Cricket commentary box.
One podcast that moved quickly with a Shane Warne podcast is the weekly Cricket Unfiltered. Co-host Paul Dennett said he couldn’t sleep after the end of the first day’s play in the Australia v Pakistan First Test when he learned of Warne’s passing, and he recorded a special Shane Warne tribute episode that he loaded to the internet in the early hours of Saturday morning.