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Shane Warne: Stars of showbiz, sport and 50,000 fans to say goodbye to cricket legend

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Stars of sport and showbiz – as well as more than 50,000 spectators – will pay tribute to cricket legend Shane Warne at his state memorial today, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Warne died aged 52 of a suspected heart attack on 4 March while in Koh Samui. The results of an autopsy revealed his death was due to natural causes.

The MCG is the scene of many of Warne’s iconic bowling moments, including a hat-trick against England in 1994 and his 700th test wicket on Boxing Day in 2006.

Read more: Cricket world will be a little duller after death of leg-spin legend who lived life to the full

Shane Warne pictured after Australia won the 2006-2007 Ashes series against England 5-0. Pic: Action Images
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Shane Warne pictured after Australia won the 2006-2007 Ashes series against England 5-0. Pic: Action Images

Musicians Elton John, Ed Sheeran, and Chris Martin will send video contributions, while former England captain Nasser Hussain travelled to Melbourne to pay his respects in person.

“It was only a month or so ago we were chatting to him on The Cricket Show and he was his usual larger-than-life self,” Hussain said. “He was so happy, so professional, and was chatting with Rob Key and I and we were having a laugh. It’s amazing how life gets you really.”

He described Warne as “absolutely the best cricketer I’ve ever seen and a great friend over the past decade.”

Other guests at the star-studded affair will include Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, and Kylie Minogue. They will be joined by politicians including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

The ground’s Great Southern Stand will also be renamed in Warne’s honour.

Family attended private funeral

It comes after his family attended a private funeral in his hometown of Melbourne on 20 March.

Warne’s three children, parents, and friends – including retired Test captains Mark Taylor and Allan Border and former England skipper Michael Vaughan – were among about 80 guests at the service.

Warne's coffin is placed in the hearse
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Warne’s coffin is placed in the hearse

Warne, considered one of the top cricketers of all time, retired from international cricket in 2007 after a stellar career where he took 708 Test wickets in 145 matches.

He won the 1999 50-over World Cup and claimed 293 dismissals in 194 one-day internationals between 1993 and 2004.

Warne retired from international cricket in 2007 and he continued to play franchise Twenty20 cricket until 2013.

After retiring, the spinner worked as a cricket commentator and in various coaching roles, including with the London Spirit in the inaugural edition of The Hundred in 2021.

Shane Warne was known for reviving the art of leg-spin
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Shane Warne’s state memorial will take place today

Sky Sports will be showing live coverage from the State Memorial Service, featuring a host of tributes from stars of sport and showbiz. Watch live on Wednesday from 8am on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports World Cup.

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