Thousands pay their respects to late Australian spinner at Melbourne Cricket Ground
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Family, friends and supporters of Australian legend Shane Warne gathered to bid farewell to the cricket great during a state memorial service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
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The legendary leg-spinner passed away at a luxury resort in Thailand this month from a suspected heart attack, aged 52, sending shockwaves throughout the sporting world and beyond.
Thousands of supporters, including celebrities and sports stars, turned up at the MCG for the two-hour service.
Warne’s son Jackson said there was “no other better place in the whole world” to hold the memorial than the famous MCG where Warne had some unforgettable performances, including a hat-trick in an Ashes Test against England and taking his 700th Test wicket.
“It’s very special for a lot of us, especially our family,” Jackson said.
“We’ve been lucky enough to come here [to the MCG] our whole lives and watch him play and put lots of hard work in on this very ground.
“Dad always loved a crowd, putting on a performance… I think, sad day as it is, with more people here it won’t be as sad,” he added.
Warne’s father Keith said he was grateful that his son’s life was celebrated on such a big stage.
A stand at the ground is to be named after Warne.
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor said the state funeral and huge turnout “shows how admired Shane Warne was”.
“He’s one of those guys where you hear lots of stories about him, some good, some not so good, but the overriding emotion is that he’s been an outstanding contributor to the game of cricket, and Australia in general,” he told Channel Nine.
Music star Elton John performed at the memorial service, while actor Hugh Jackman and singer Kylie Minogue also paid their respects.
Cricketing greats such as Brian Lara and a number of current of former Australian players were at the service. India great Sachin Tendulkar sent his condolences through video.
Warne took 708 Test wickets as part of a dominant Australian team in the 1990s and early 2000s before becoming a renowned commentator. Before the state service in his memory, Warne’s family, friends and teammates mourned him at a private funeral on March 20.
Updated: March 30, 2022, 1:03 PM