A memorial service to honour the life of Shane Warne will be staged at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30.

Australia legend Warne died at the age of 52 last Friday after suffering a suspected heart attack while on holiday in his villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui.

Tributes poured in from all over the world for a sporting icon, who took a remarkable 708 Test wickets during a 15-year career – second only to Muttiah Muralitharan.

Warne's family accepted the offer of a state funeral, and Victoria premier Dan Andrews on Wednesday confirmed a service will be held at the cricketer's home ground.

"There's nowhere in the world more appropriate to farewell Warnie than the 'G," Andrews wrote on Twitter.

"Victorians will be able to pay tribute to Shane and his contribution [to] our state, and his sport, at a memorial service at the MCG on the evening of March 30th."

Flowers, cricket shirts, photographs and beer have been left where Warne's statue stands at the MCG.

The Great Southern Stand at the famous ground will be renamed to the S. K. Warne Stand in tribute to the late, great spinner.

England rugby union coach Eddie Jones declared fellow Australian Shane Warne as an "icon" following the former cricketer's death at the age of 52 last week.

Warne was found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand on Friday after a suspected heart attack.

Thai police previously claimed Warne had complained of chest pains prior to his passing, and have since confirmed he died of natural causes.

Speaking at a news conference previewing England's Six Nations clash with Ireland on Saturday, Jones spoke warmly of Warne, saying: "Yes, terrible time, mate. Shane was an icon, wasn't he?

"He was a player that scaled the heights. He had his issues off the field, but he changed the game of cricket.

"There was someone on the radio I was listening to the other day who said that when he went to school, everyone was trying to bowl leg-spinners. They spent most of their time trying to get the balls off the top of the nets, because they couldn't bowl them.

"He did a trade that was physically the opposite of what you're supposed to do, for a long period of time, and became the top Test match wicket-taker.

"I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions. I remember we had a net session, with the Wallabies, against the Australian side, when they were right at the top, and Warne was at the top. We had a guy called Wendell Sailor – he was a larger-than-life character.

"He was batting against Stuart MacGill, who was the other leg-spinner. Wendell was coming in and smashing MacGill out of the nets.

"Warnie grabbed the ball and winked to the guys behind him, and said, 'Watch this'. He gave him two floated up and let Wendell smash him. The third one he bowled a bit shorter, a bit faster and he was bowled. Then he told Wendell to go where he needs to go, which I thought was a great little insight into such a wonderful sportsman."

Warne's body is due to be returned to Australia on Tuesday, where he is to receive a state funeral in Victoria.

Australian cricket great Shane Warne died of natural causes, according to the autopsy report.

Warne was found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand last Friday at the age of 52 following a suspected heart attack.

His death rocked the sport, with tributes pouring in from across the world for the legendary spinner, who took 708 Test wickets across a 15-year career – second only to Muttiah Muralitharan.

Thai police previously claimed Warne had complained of chest pains prior to his passing, and they have since confirmed he died of natural causes.

In a statement on Monday, deputy national police spokesperson Kissana Phathanacharoen said: "Today investigators received the autopsy result, in which the medical opinion is that the cause of death is natural.

"Investigators will summarise the autopsy result for prosecutors within the timeframe of the law."

Songyot Chayaninporamet, deputy director of the hospital where Warne was taken, put the death down to a "congenital disease".

Songyot added: "There is no COVID-19 infection and no sign of assault or murder."

Warne's body is due to be returned to Australia on Tuesday, where he is to receive a state funeral in Victoria.

Shane Warne brought a "Hollywood" magic to cricket and belonged to the same sporting superstar bracket as NBA legend Michael Jordan, according to an old Ashes adversary.

Former England paceman Angus Fraser described Warne as "a magician" of a bowler, a leg-spinner who was "in complete control" of his art.

Speaking to Stats Perform, in the wake of Warne's death at the age of 52 on Friday, Fraser said the man who was so often the scourge of England did "untold good" for the sport.

Warne took 708 Test match wickets, a total beaten only by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, and his effervescence and skill level made him a player who transcended cricket.

"He did bring Hollywood to cricket, didn't he?," Fraser said.

"Sat next to Shane Warne, he always had a ball in his hand. He was just going through his ball, the different balls. So like the leg-spinner, the googly, the flipper.

"The control he had over a cricket ball, you just sat there thinking, this guy's a magician. I mean, he's just throwing the thing up, and it just lands straight in his hand while he's talking to you, and he was just in complete control of what he was doing, so the skill level of the man was just beyond belief, really.

"Every ball was an event, that was the thing as well. It was theatre. You stood there at the end of his run-up and then boom. You watched when he had the ball in his hand because you just thought anything is possible, anything could happen.

"Not just a great cricketer, one of the greatest cricketers in the world, he's one of the great sportsmen in the world. He's up there with Michael Jordan and people like that.

"That's the sort of level where he's at, so that's the impact he had on the game. The way he's gone about it, yes, he's made mistakes and, yes, sometimes he's been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. But he's just done untold good for the game of cricket."

Warne's death was a jolt to the global cricket community. The man who became a popular pundit after his playing career ended passed away while on holiday in Thailand, of a suspected heart attack.

Fraser was left stunned, saying: "These things don't happen to Shane Warne, do they? I mean, yes, we know he's got a lifestyle and an existence that is just unimaginable, dashing around the world, but it doesn't happen to Shane.

"I mean, he's sort of bulletproof, he's a force of nature. He's just a character that you can kick and knock down, but he always gets back up and comes back, and is there as bold as brass and as confident and as full of energy in life as he's ever been."

Warne's career was full of highs and some notable lows, including being stripped of the Australia vice-captaincy after a phone sex scandal, and being banned for failing a drugs test, having taken a banned diuretic. He became engaged to actress and model Liz Hurley, and although they later split, Warne's life was for many years spent in the glare of the media spotlight.

Fraser said: "Whether you've played against him or whether you've just followed him as a cricket supporter, his life has been led out there in the open, so I think it's inevitable that everybody feels it because you've seen him make his mistakes, you've seen these wonderful moments, you just know so much about the man. It's hard to believe that there's that much hidden, because it's just all been out there in the newspapers or on the televisions in front of us."

Shane Warne will have a state funeral, Victoria premier Dan Andrews has confirmed.

The Australia great died this week at the age of 52, having been found unresponsive at his villa in Thailand on Friday.

Tributes have poured in for legendary spinner Warne, who took 708 Test wickets across a 15-year career – second only to Muttiah Muralitharan.

Flowers, beer and photographs have been left at Warne's statue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is to have a stand renamed in his honour, Andrews had already announced.

And further appreciation will now follow at a state funeral, which was offered by Andrews to Warne's family.

"I've spoken with the Warne family again today and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral to remember Shane," the premier posted on his Twitter page.

"It will be an opportunity for Victorians to pay tribute to his contribution to his sport, to our state and the country.

"Details will be finalised in coming days."

The late Shane Warne will be honoured at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the stadium's Great Southern Stand set to be renamed in tribute.

Warne was born in Melbourne and played for Victoria, with the MCG his home ground.

He took over 50 of his 708 Test wickets at the MCG and, in his memory, part of the stadium will be named after him.

On his last appearance for Australia in Melbourne, Warne took a five-for against England in the 2006 Boxing Day Test.

"I wanted to tell you all today that we will be renaming the Great Southern Stand, the S.K. Warne Stand and we will do that as soon as we possibly can," said Martin Pakula, the Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.

"I can think of no finer tribute to the greatest cricketer this state has ever produced than to rename the stand the S.K. Warne Stand.

"No matter whatever happens to it in the future, if it is rebuilt or refurbished or renovated, it will remain the S.K. Warne Stand in perpetuity because his legend will live in perpetuity.

"He is the greatest cricketer that this state has ever produced. And it will be a long, long time before we see anyone near as good as him."

Warne's death has stunned the world of cricket, with tributes having poured in for the leg-spinner, who will go down as one of the sports' greatest players.

The late Shane Warne will be honoured at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the stadium's Great Southern Stand set to be renamed in tribute.

Warne was born in Melbourne and played for Victoria, with the MCG his home ground.

He took over 50 of his 708 Test wickets at the MCG and, in his memory, part of the stadium will be named after him.

On his last appearance for Australia in Melbourne, Warne took a five-for against England in the 2006 Boxing Day Test.

"I wanted to tell you all today that we will be renaming the Great Southern Stand, the S.K. Warne Stand and we will do that as soon as we possibly can," said Martin Pakula, the Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.

"I can think of no finer tribute to the greatest cricketer this state has ever produced than to rename the stand the S.K. Warne Stand.

"No matter whatever happens to it in the future, if it is rebuilt or refurbished or renovated, it will remain the S.K. Warne Stand in perpetuity because his legend will live in perpetuity.

"He is the greatest cricketer that this state has ever produced. And it will be a long, long time before we see anyone near as good as him."

Warne's death has stunned the world of cricket, with tributes having poured in for the leg-spinner, who will go down as one of the sports' greatest players.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has joined the tributes to his old team-mate Shane Warne.

Warne, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, died at the age of 52 on Friday.

His passing has left the world of cricket, and sport in general, stunned. 

Masses of tributes have been paid to the former leg-spinner, who took 708 Test wickets for his country, the second-highest total of any bowler.

Ponting, who played alongside Warne for Australia between 1995 and 2007, and was Test captain for three of those years from 2004, has joined those hailing one of the sport's greats.

"Hard to put this into words. I first met him when I was 15 at the Academy. He gave me my nickname [Punter]," Ponting posted on his official Twitter account.

"We were teammates for more than a decade, riding all the highs and lows together.

"Through it all he was someone you could always count on, someone who loved his family, someone who would be there for you when you needed him and always put his mates first.

"The greatest bowler I ever played with or against. RIP King. My thoughts are with Keith, Bridgette, Jason, Brooke, Jackson and Summer."

Another of Warne's former Australia team-mates, Matthew Hayden, tweeted: "RIP Warnie. God only made one model of you my friend."

Justin Langer also played alongside Warne, and Fox Sports reported the ex-Australia coach as having said: "[Warne was] intensely loyal to his mates, controversial — he said it as he saw it. Incredibly generous, and, you know, he was a very kind and generous person but intensely loyal.

"Recently, the way he stood up for me in the last few months, I mean, that was Shane Warne, he looked after his mates.

"I've said this a thousand times… the best thing I did in cricket was play with Shane Warne."

Current Australia one-day captain Aaron Finch tweeted: "[Heartbroken] and shocked… absolutely shattered that we have lost one of the great sportsman and friends! The impact you had runs a lot deeper than cricket. You will be forever missed King!"

Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, has passed away at the age of 52.

Warne's death has left the sporting world in shock. He was a genius with the ball, taking 708 Test wickets across a 15-year career for Australia, and his place among the all-time sporting greats is secure.

He enjoyed a wonderful rivalry with Australia's old enemies, England.

As first impressions go, Warne's in Ashes cricket was about as eye-catching as you could possibly get.  

It was June 4, 1993 and the second day of the series opener between England and Australia at Old Trafford. Having taken five wickets for 45 runs in the morning session to dismiss their rivals for 289, the home side's reply was progressing steadily enough at 80-1. 

However, Warne's introduction into the attack produced one of cricket's most memorable moments and changed the dynamic of the rivalry for over the next decade.

Mike Gatting will certainly never forget it, as the leg-spinner unfurled a delivery that flummoxed the England batsman.

"We understood he was a very talented sportsperson. He liked his surfing, he was a typical sort of Aussie larrikin, as they called them, who could spin the cricket ball," Gatting told BBC 5 Live on Friday, following the confirmation of Warne's passing.

"We didn't know much more about him than that, and in the match before they told him to just bowl his leg-breaks and he didn't bowl his flippers, and topples [top-spinners], and googlies, but when he got down the other end there, I was just trying to watch the ball.

"I knew it was a leg-break and I knew it was going to spin, you could hear it coming through the air from down the other end, and then just at the last yard or so, as a good leg-spinner does, it just drifted in, and it drifted just outside leg stump and just turned out of nowhere, a long, long way.

"I'm quite a wide chap and it got past me as well as everything else and just clipped the off bail, and I was just as dumbfounded as I am now to hear that he's died."

'The Ball of the Century', as it became known, was poetry in slow (bowling) motion. The initial drift appeared to make it look innocuous enough as it veered to pitch outside the line of the right-handed Gatting's leg stump, only to dip, rip and zip beyond his defensive prod, beating the outside edge of the bat before going on to hit off stump. 

It was a stunning opening statement. As if he had cast a spell that day, Warne would go on to dominate against England for the rest of his career. 

Gatting will famously be remembered as the first but plenty more would be mesmerised by Warne, who ended his international career with 708 Test wickets at 25.41. Only Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Sri Lanka's own spin king, has ever managed more. 

The variations – the wrong'uns, flippers, sliders and shooters, or whatever other name Warne came up with for the latest addition to his bowling repertoire – all helped add to his aura. So many batsmen were often done in the mind before he had even released the ball from his right hand.

England suffered more than any other nation. Warne claimed 195 wickets against Australia's greatest rivals at an average of 23.3. 

More than half of that tally came on English soil too (129 at 21.9 in 22 matches), with his numbers against them in Australia impacted by missing the majority of the 1998-99 series due to a right shoulder injury, as well as a further two Tests in 2002-03. In terms of wickets abroad, South Africa sit second on his hit list, Warne picking up 61 there in 12 Tests. 

The young, bright-blond bowler in 1993 went on to finish with 34 scalps during the six-match Ashes, though a strike-rate of a wicket every 77.6 balls was comfortably the highest for any of his four series on English soil.

He picked up four in each innings in Manchester – albeit none with such dramatic effect as the delivery that did for Gatting – then repeated the trick at Lord's in the next Test. While the returns dipped for the remainder of the trip, including just one wicket at Headingley, Australia eased to a 4-1 triumph to retain the urn. 


From that away success towards the end of Allan Border's reign through the captaincy eras of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, the Australians would maintain their grip on the most famous prize in cricket until 2005, when Michael Vaughan's side worked out that attack was the best form of defence.

The competitive nature of that series – after a lop-sided opener at Lord’s that the tourists won, every other fixture provided sporting drama of the highest quality – seemingly inspired Warne to reach a personal Ashes peak.

No cause was lost when he had the ball that summer, as demonstrated when so nearly rescuing situations in eventual defeats at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, when his side's batting failures left them playing catch-up. In the end, though, his 40 wickets at 19.9 were not enough to spare Australia from slipping to a 2-1 defeat.  

Still, he became just the eighth bowler to take 40 wickets in a series – and the first since 1989 – while striking on average every 37.9 balls. England had managed to win the war despite coming out second best in their battles with Warne. 

His hugely successful English summer helped towards an overall haul of 96 wickets in 2005, comfortably the best return during a Test career that saw him take 70 or more in a calendar year on four occasions.

The last act was to help regain the urn at home in 2006-07, Andrew Flintoff becoming Warne's 195th Ashes scalp when stumped by Adam Gilchrist in Sydney.  The bowler who made the fading art of leg spin fashionable once again had bamboozled England for the final time.

Now, cricket mourns the loss of a rare talent and a true legend.

Shane Warne's death left Mike Gatting in disbelief – almost three decades after the Australia spinner dismissed the England batsman with the so-called Ball of the Century.

The loss of Warne, at the age of 52, sent shock through the cricket world, with Gatting forever closely associated with the man from Victoria.

Former England skipper Gatting was dismissed in sensational style by Warne during the opening Ashes Test at Old Trafford on June 4, 1993, when a seemingly innocuous delivery turned sharply and bowled the bamboozled home batsman.

The delivery veered to pitch outside the line of the right-handed Gatting's leg stump, only to dip, rip and zip beyond his defensive prod, beating the outside edge of the bat before going on to hit off stump.

Warne had already played 11 Tests, but this was his first in England, and the hosts only had an inkling of his talent. His first delivery in an Ashes Test went down in history.

"We understood he was a very talented sportsperson. He liked his surfing, he was a typical sort of Aussie larrikin, as they called them, who could spin the cricket ball," Gatting told BBC 5 Live.

"We didn't know much more about him than that, and in the match before they told him to just bowl his leg-breaks and he didn't bowl his flippers, and topples [top-spinners], and googlies, but when he got down the other end there, I was just trying to watch the ball.

"I knew it was a leg-break and I knew it was going to spin, you could hear it coming through the air from down the other end, and then just at the last yard or so, as a good leg-spinner does, it just drifted in, and it drifted just outside leg stump and just turned out of nowhere, a long, long way.

"I'm quite a wide chap and it got past me as well as everything else and just clipped the off bail, and I was just as dumbfounded as I am now to hear that he's died."

Gatting, now 64, was in his final years as an international batsman. Even with the passing of time, he remains astonished by the way Warne got him out that day.

"I can't believe it, and I couldn't believe it then, and it was just one of those that sort of probably helped him," Gatting said.

"He was a pretty confident bloke already, but I'm sure that gave him a huge amount of confidence and took him to the next level, and he kept going up levels after that."

Reflecting on Warne's death, after a suspected heart attack, Gatting said: "It's been just devastating really, and unbelievable. When you think he's 52, and he's been an absolute legend in the game, and I don't use that word lightly either. It's just unreal.

"We've lost a great cricketer and a great guy. I'm very, very happy to have called him a great friend."

Current England captain Joe Root said his squad, currently on tour in the West Indies, were "shocked and really sad" to hear news of Warne's death.

"My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loves the game of cricket, was always a joy to be around, gave so much energy to the sport," Root said.

"Growing up as a kid he was a massive idol of mine, someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own, his skill level was incredible. But to have the opportunity to spend some time with him and get to know him a little bit, albeit not a lot, it's deeply saddening to hear the news this morning."

Root said watching Warne in the 2005 Ashes, where he shone with 40 wickets despite Australia losing the series 2-1, was "the sort of thing that makes you want to get into the game and play at the highest level".

"You could see his joy and enthusiasm when he played was still there when you got to speak to him," Root said. "He just wanted to see the game played at the peak of its powers. It's just really sad."

Shane Warne brought a "rock and roll" spirit to cricket and his death is a "terrible" blow, commentary colleague Mark Nicholas said on Friday.

The sport has been jolted by the loss of Warne at the age of 52, who remained a major figure even though his playing days were long over.

Warne was a leg-spin maverick who had an exuberant character that helped to make him a natural broadcaster.

He thrived in his role as an expert analyst and was a popular presence in the role, bringing to bear the experience of his 145 Test matches and 194 ODIs.

Nicholas, a Hampshire mainstay for many years before turning to broadcasting, has become one of the best-known anchor presenters, and often worked in tandem with Warne.

Remembering Warne's influence, Nicholas told talkSPORT: "He turned a whole generation around to a new rock and roll type of cricket, he played to a level never been seen before.

"He always was an entertainer, he was never compromised by his art, and what he really valued was loving that so many people loved watching him play. He was an amazing guy with extraordinary energy.

"The only consolation I can give is he gave this life a good crack. I would say I would have trusted him with my life and would rate him as one of the great enthusiasts… of anything. He was up for anything."

Warne also played for Hampshire, some years after Nicholas retired, and captained the county side.

But it was as a spin pioneer with Australia that Warne shone brightest, his flair and cunning undoing the world's finest batsmen. He was repeatedly the scourge of English batsmen, helping Australia to seven Ashes series wins.

He retired from international cricket in 2007 after a 15-year career, seeing out his final years as a player in T20 competitions.

"This is a desperate blow," Nicholas said. "He was one of the most amazing people I've ever met and it's just terrible."

To watch the great Shane Warne bowl his mesmerizing leg-spin was pure theatre.

It was poetry in motion to witness the Australia legend come in off his short run before bamboozling batsmen all over the world time and again.

The cricket world is in mourning after Warne died in Thailand at the age of 52.

Not only was he one of the best cricketers of all time, Warne established himself as a sporting icon due to his wizardry with the ball and his infectious personality.

He made a huge impact with his incredible skill, passion for the sport and drive to reach new heights.

There was a swagger about the Victorian, who looked more like a surfer from Bondi Beach than a Test bowler when he emerged on the international stage with bleach-blonde hair and zinc sunscreen smeared on his face.

Warne certainly made waves in a magnificent playing career, with Muttiah Muralitharan the only bowler to have claimed more than his 708 Test scalps from 145 matches.

There were so many highs for the maverick tweaker, a standout being the 'Ball of the Century' to bowl Mike Gatting with a delivery that ripped up from outside leg to strike the off stump in the 1993 Ashes series.

He also claimed an Ashes hat-trick on his home Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1994 and was man of the match when Australia won the 1999 World Cup final against Pakistan after taking 4-33 at Lord's.

Warne loved being on the big stage and he thrived on the pressure, delivering multiple match-winning performances over the years.

There was an aura about him. He was a vibrant personality, a great sport, who knew how to enjoy himself, and far more than just a cricketer.

Off the field, he lived a colourful life and was described as a "rock and roll" cricketer by his commentary colleague Mark Nicholas on Friday.

Warne was stripped of the Australia vice-captaincy in 2000 after a phone-sex scandal involving a British nurse, at a time when he was married.

He was linked with many women, notably coupling up with British actress Liz Hurley to whom he became engaged, although they later split.

Famously, Warne was banned for a year after testing positive for a banned diuretic in February 2003, just prior to Australia beginning their campaign at the Cricket World Cup. He said the pill had been given to him by his mother, flatly denied any intentional wrongdoing, and was soon back to his best once that ban expired.

Warne continued to pass on his wisdom to both young and established players after calling time on his playing career, leaving spinners in particularly transfixed by both his actions and words.

He remained in the game as a coach, mentor and an excellent commentator, bringing an unrivalled energy to his work and play.

It was not only batsmen who had difficulty reading him, as he also experienced success on the poker table.

There was an air of expectation when Warne walked onto the field, entered a room, started a commentary stint or a coaching session.

The many tributes from far and wide for a sporting icon showed the measure of the man who has gone far too soon.

Warne was a superstar, a genius who lived life to the full and is a huge loss.

Australia Test captain Pat Cummins said cricket "will never be the same" after the death of leg-spin great Shane Warne.

Warne has died at the age of 52, having been found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand on Friday.

The flamboyant bowler registered 708 wickets across a remarkable 15-year Test career, bettered only by fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, before retiring from international cricket in 2007 and pursuing careers in commentary and coaching.

He was a victor in seven Ashes series, in which he picked up 195 dismissals in outings against England, as he inspired the next generation of Australian cricketers.

Cummins expressed shock at the news of Warne's death when he spoke after stumps on day one of Australia's first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. He also paid tribute to another Australia Test mainstay in Rod Marsh, who died aged 74 on Thursday.

"On behalf of the entire playing group and support staff here in Pakistan, I want to express our shock and sadness over Shane's sudden passing," Cummins said, quoted by Cricket Australia. "We are all numbed by the news.

"Shane was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time, but apart from the wickets he took and the games he helped Australia win, what he did was draw so many people to the sport.

"So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result, while many of our support staff either played with him or against him.

"It has been a terrible couple of days for Australian cricket with the passing of Rod Marsh and now Shane.

"Our thoughts are with both families and, in Shane's case, particularly with his parents Keith and Bridgette, his brother Jason and his children Jackson, Summer and Brooke.

"The game of cricket was never the same after Shane emerged, and it will never be the same now he has gone. Rest in peace King."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan expressed disbelief following the death of Shane Warne, describing his Ashes rival as the "greatest ever cricketer".

Warne has died at the age of 52, having been found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand on Friday.

Tributes have flooded in from across the cricketing world, with Sachin Tendulkar, Ian Botham and Ben Stokes among those to post their memories of the Australian superstar.

Warne ranks second for most Test dismissals, with his 708 wickets only bettered by fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, and he claimed 195 victims in Ashes outings alone. He was also a victor in seven such series.

Vaughan and Warne memorably faced off in the 2005 Ashes, with England getting the better of a star-studded line-up before Australia regained the urn in 2006-07.

While the pair were regularly embroiled in a battle on the pitch, Vaughan reflected on the friendship he developed with Warne after the two finished their playing days and moved into the commentary box.

"I can't tell you how hard it is to get this down in words," Vaughan wrote on Instagram. "It just doesn't feel real to be talking about someone who once was an enemy on the pitch to one who became a great friend off it.

"Shane was the greatest ever cricketer but more than that his character lit up every dressing room, comm box, bar, golf club and friendship group. His energy and positivity was beyond anyone I have ever known.

"He was loyal beyond loyal, at a time I needed support he was the first to pick up the phone and offer advice and help, and the utmost support.

"I will never ever forget the warmth he and his family gave me this winter when I was down under for Christmas alone. To say I spent Warney's last Xmas with him and his family is so sad but one I will cherish."

Vaughan fondly recalled how Warne tucked in to lasagne sandwiches while everyone else had a traditional Christmas lunch.

He added: "That's Warney. The superstar, the greatest, friends to world superstars, everyone wanted to be around him, but ultimately he was just a normal guy who could do incredible things.

"Leg spin is the hardest skill in our game and he mastered it. He became a great poker player as he loved gambling, but it was more the competition and trying to put the psych into his opponents that he loved. Just like when he bowled."

Vaughan said his thoughts went out to Warne's parents and his three children.

"We are all thinking of you. I am absolutely gutted to have lost a great friend," Vaughan added. "One thing is for sure heaven will be a lively place now the King has arrived. Love ya Shane."

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