Shane Warne venerated as ‘much-loved cricketing legend’ at state funeral
Shane Warne’s father Keith paid a heartfelt tribute to his son during a state memorial service on Wednesday, saying his family took comfort in knowing he packed more into his life “than most people would in two lifetimes”.
The former leg-spinner, considered one of the greatest cricketers of all-time, died aged 52 earlier this month from a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand.
A private funeral has already been held, but a state memorial service was held at Warne’s beloved Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, with Greta Bradman – granddaughter of Sir Donald Bradman, named alongside Warne as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Century in 2000 – getting things under way by singing the Australian national anthem.
Keith Warne said in his eulogy: “Friday March 4, 2022, darkest day in our family’s life. It was a day that our son, Shane Keith Warne, was tragically and suddenly taken from us.
“Our family lost a beloved son, a loving brother to Jason and a devoted father to Brooke, Jackson and Summer.
“The world lost a much-loved cricketing legend whose feats on and off the cricket field will go down in history for all time.
“Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable. We do take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more in his life of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes.”
Keith Warne added: “We are grateful the world loved our son as we did and thankfully touched so many lives in so many ways.
“Shane said of himself, ‘I smoked, I drank, and I played a little cricket’.
“Mate, your mother and I can’t imagine a life without you. You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us. And for being such a loving and caring son.
“Rest in peace. Love you, mum and dad.”
Singer Kylie Minogue and actor Hugh Jackman then paid tribute to Warne via video link, with Minogue saying the former spinner’s “light will continue to burn bright in our memories forever more”.
Sir Elton John then performed his classic hit ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ via video link, dedicating the song to Warne’s children Brooke, Summer and Jackson.
A panel was next, hosted by Mark Howard, and included some of cricket’s greatest luminaries – Australian trio Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Merv Hughes, England’s Nasser Hussain and West Indies’ Brian Lara.
Asked to describe Warne in one word, Border said he was a “genius” and another former Australia captain Taylor added “genuine”.
Former Australia fast bowler Hughes brought some laughs from the assembled crowd when he said “dead-set bogan”.
Ex-England captain Hussain referred to Warne as an “entertainer” while Windies great Lara called his old rival “the king”.
The quintet then shared some of their favourite memories on and off the field with Warne.
Taylor, in his final reflections, added: “(Warne) made slow bowling fashionable again. He made it cool.
“I think we who were lucky enough, and (Border) and I captained him, really appreciate it because it made us better captains and better leaders.”
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