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Shane Warne: Autopsy reveals spinner died of 'natural causes'

Shane Warne's family have been informed of the result and accepted the finding; Warne's body will be transferred to Australian consular officials for return to his family; Sir Ian Botham: "He was larger than life... an icon of Australian cricket"

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A look back at the career of Shane Warne, who has passed away at the age of 52

Australian cricket great Shane Warne's death was due to natural causes, Thai police said on Monday, citing the results of an autopsy.

Warne's family have been informed of the result and accepted the finding. Warne's body will be transferred to Australian consular officials for return to his family, deputy national police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a statement.

"Today investigators received the autopsy result, in which the medical opinion is that the cause of death is natural," Kissana said. "Investigators will summarize the autopsy result for prosecutors within the timeframe of the law."

Warne died at the age of 52 on Friday while on holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand. A state funeral is due to be held in Victoria for the Australian cricketing great.

Botham: Warne an icon of world cricket

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Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards pay tribute to Warne

Tributes have poured in for Warne, who revolutionised cricket for spinners, while being one of the sharpest and most compelling minds in the game.

The leg-spinner collected 708 Test wickets in 145 matches, second-highest in history, and 1,001 international wickets in total, including 293 in 194 one-day internationals before calling time on his Australia career in 2007. He famously delivered the 'Ball of the Century' to dismiss Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993.

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Former England captain Mike Gatting remembers that remarkable delivery labelled the 'Ball of the Century' as his wicket fell to Warne at Old Trafford in 1993

"He was larger than life," said Sir Ian Botham, a friend and former colleague of Warne's for Sky Sports. "It's very tragic.

"I was with him not long ago. We're talking hours and days, not months and years.

"I didn't believe it at first, I thought it was fake news, and then I got the phone call from Australia to say I'm afraid it's true.

"My immediate thoughts are with his family, Jackson his son, and Brooke and Summer, his daughters.

"It was a bad 24 hours, with Rod Marsh passing away before that. Two icons of Australian cricket, Shane Warne an icon of world cricket."

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England vice-captain Ben Stokes remembers cricket 'legend' and former colleague Warne

Sir Viv Richards, who joined Botham in addressing the media ahead of the upcoming West Indies versus England Test series, added that everyone involved in the game of cricket will miss the "fun-loving" Warne.

"It's tough times for those of us who appreciate the game and have known these individuals," Richards said.

"Shane is a guy both of us felt enjoyed his cricket and enjoyed life off the field as well. These are the best guys in my opinion.

"We are going to miss him, the cricketing fraternity as a whole. He was a fun-loving guy."

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Both the men and women's Australian cricket teams pay tribute to Warne

Warne's family in 'complete shock'

Warne's family are said to be "shattered" by the news. His long-time manager, James Erskine, said on Sunday: "The three children are in a complete shock.

"I spoke to them yesterday and Jackson just said, 'We expect him to walk in the door. This is like a bad dream'.

"Keith, Shane's father, is a pretty strong individual, but like everybody, he's just shattered, they can't believe what's happened."

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews tweeted that the details of Warne's state funeral "will be finalised in the coming days", saying "it will be an opportunity for Victorians to pay tribute to his contribution to his sport, to our state and the country".

Warne to be honoured at Melbourne Cricket Ground

Victoria's minister for tourism and sport Martin Pakula also confirmed the Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is set to be renamed as the SK Warne Stand in honour of the great.

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From the 2015 documentary, 'Shane Warne: Living The Dream', Warne surprisingly revealed he rose through the ranks as a batsman before developing into a bowler

"We will be renaming the Great Southern Stand the SK Warne Stand and we'll be doing that as soon as we possibly can," said Pakula.

"I can think of no finer tribute to the greatest cricketer this state has produced than to rename the stand the SK Warne Stand and no matter whatever happens to that stand in the future whether it's rebuilt, refurbished, renovated, it will remain the SK Warne Stand in perpetuity because his legend will live in perpetuity."

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England Test captain Joe Root has paid tribute to Warne, describing him as an idol of his as he was growing up

Cricket Australia chairman Dr Lachlan Henderson noted that renaming the stand would "seem a very appropriate acknowledgement" of Warne.

"He's been an icon of the game, obviously with St Kilda Cricket Club, Victoria, our Australian team for so many years. He also played cricket all around the world. So it's a very fitting tribute," he added.

"Right here this morning, driving past a junior cricket ground in Victoria, I saw a young leg-spin bowler bowl a beautifully-flighted ball that beat the bat and I'm sure someone was looking down on that young bowler as he embarks on his career."

Hussain: Warne the "greatest ever"

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Nasser Hussain pays tribute to 'the king of spin' Shane Warne, where he remembers facing and working with the legend of the game

Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain...

"For me, he was arguably the greatest cricketer to ever play the game.

"The game is about entertaining people and there was never a dull moment when Shane Warne had the ball in his hand. He was absolutely genius.

"Leg spin was a dying art before he burst onto the scene; we had never heard of a 'flipper', and then suddenly he used to set us up with it. He'd bowl us a ball that was short and you'd think 'ah, Shane has lost it today', and then the very next ball was the flipper and it was through us. He was an outstanding cricketer.

"When Australia really needed him in that 2005 Ashes series, when England were all over them and they were crumbling, there was one Aussie that stood up and said 'not today'. He got wickets by the shed load, he got runs by the shed load too and he showed a lot of fight and a lot of character.

"Some people are brilliant at the game, some people are genius, some people have fight. Shane Warne had everything in abundance.

"He was also a very, very smart cricketer as we've seen in the commentary box since he retired from the game."

Atherton: Warne had raw cricketing intelligence in spades

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Former England captain Michael Atherton pays tribute to Warne and describes him as the most intelligent bowler he played against

In giving his reaction to Friday's shocking news, Sky Sports Cricket's Michael Atherton said Warne - a long-time adversary on the pitch and colleague in the commentary booth - had raw cricketing intelligence in spades.

"Hearing the news, I was totally stunned. I don't think I've ever been more shocked in my life," Atherton told Sky Sports from Antigua.

"I don't think many people read the game better than he did, and of course he had great character and a way of putting it across.

"But all the intelligence you saw as a player - I think he's the most intelligent bowler I played against - came across in his commentary.

"And using the word intelligence, I'm not talking about A-Levels and that kind of thing, but raw cricketing intelligence which he had in spades. He was a fabulous bowler."

Holding: Warne changed spin bowling

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Michael Holding says Warne changed the way spin bowlers were viewed within the game

Michael Holding, another former colleague of Warne's at Sky Sports, added that the Australian changed spin bowling forever: "Yes, Shane Warne was a great cricketer, a great commentator, knew the game and was very insightful, but he was also a very kind person who was willing to talk to anyone - from any country - about the game and assist them.

"This is such a loss, an extremely sad loss and my heart goes out to his family and close friends. I'm still in shock, believe me.

"Before Shane Warne came along, a lot of spin bowlers were around and came along and got some wickets, but nobody really looked up at them as great match-winners. This man on his own changed the outlook of people with regards to spin bowlers."

Strauss: Extraordinary Warne was greatest showman

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Former England captain Andrew Strauss pays tribute to Warne and explains what made him so special both on and off the pitch

Sir Andrew Strauss, who famously fell to Warne during the 2005 Ashes in what became known as the 'Edgbaston Ripper', said: "He was literally the greatest showman. There will be other cricketers whose records that might be as good as his, but no-one played the game in the way that he did.

"It was the flamboyancy, the great aura that he had as a cricketer, his enthusiasm for the game, the incredible competitive spirit he had and then of course, the extraordinary skills that he had in those magical fingers of his.

"It was the greatest challenge that I ever had as a cricketer to face up against him and I'm sure there are countless other cricketers who would say the same thing.

"You were playing the grand master of the game and he made you know it as well."

Cummins: Warne a once in a century cricketer

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Australia captain Pat Cummins says Warne's records will live on forever as he paid tribute to one of his idols

Current Australia Test captain Pat Cummins said: "Warnie was an all-time great, a once in a century type cricketer and his records will live on forever. We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him. We had posters of him on the wall and had his earrings. We love so much about Warnie, his showmanship, charisma and tactics. He just willed himself and the team around him to win games for Australia and above all else his incredible skill as a leg-spinner.

"So many guys in this team and squad who still hold him as a hero, they're all-time favourite player and the loss that we're all trying to wrap our heads around is huge. It's been a really tough couple of days for Australian cricket after the passing of Rod [Marsh]. We just wish the best to both families, to Shane's parents and his kids.

"The game was never the same after Warnie emerged and the game will never be the same after his passing. Rest in peace king."

Ponting: Warne was a teacher

"He was a teacher through his commentary and I've seen hundreds of photos over the last 24 hours of all the spinners he worked with," said Ricky Ponting, a long-time teammate who captained Warne during the final years of his Test career.

"He helped Steve Smith in his younger days and Rashid Khan has been catching up with him - just imagine the conversations they would have had.

"So I feel it is now up to me, whenever I get an opportunity, to just let the world know what he was like and pass on some of the things I learnt from him."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Former Australian players Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne commentate for Sky Sports before day two of the 4th Specsavers Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford on September 5, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ricky Ponting; Shane Warne
Image: Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne

Ponting told The ICC Review of his shock at Warne's death, saying: "I woke up nice and early, I was getting the kids ready to go to netball and [his wife] looked at her phone and told me the news about Warney.

"I grabbed the phone out of her hand to look at it and I couldn't believe it and it is still the same now.

"It was so raw to me I couldn't really speak and every time I thought about him and our experiences and our journey together and I just got short for words.

"Even today I have had the TV on watching the tributes, but every time I hear his voice I have to turn it off.

"It's been a tough couple of days, but it makes us a bit more aware of things I probably need to pay more attention to and there is stuff there for all of us to learn."

Asked what he would say to Warne if he had the chance for one final conversation, Ponting said: "I would say just how much I love him.

"I didn't say that to him and I wish I did.

"The more people talking about Shane, the thing that will shine through will be just how loyal he was to family and friends and how loved he was.

"He had the energy that drew you to him and that is a trait that not a lot of people have."

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