Beers and tears flow as MCG stand renamed for Warne

The Great Southern Stand will be renamed for Shane Warne, whose family has been offered a state funeral following the legendary leg-spinner's untimely passing

Flowers, meat pies and beer cans have been laid at Shane Warne's statue at the MCG following the Australian cricketing legend's sudden death.

News broke in the early hours of Saturday that the 52-year-old had died of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Warne's manager, James Erskine, confirmed on Fox Cricket that one of Warne's friends performed CPR on him after finding the 52-year-old unresponsive in his bed in a villa after he was late rousing. 

Warne was taken to the Thai International Hospital but could not be revived.

Warne, who was born in the Melbourne suburb of Upper Ferntree Gully, leaves behind daughters Brooke, 24, and Summer, 20, and son Jackson, 22.

His family has been offered a state funeral by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments. 

Image Id: 72437BD6D0E64A39898120EE336F8579 Image Caption: Fans have turned the Shane Warne statue at the MCG into a shrine // Getty

It was also announced the MCG's Great Southern Stand would be renamed the S.K. Warne Stand.

As Australia awoke to the news on Saturday, fans laid flowers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where there is a statue in Warne's honour.

Among the other offerings were a can of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a meat pie – a nod to Warne's famously hard-charging lifestyle. 

He played 145 Tests in total over a 15-year career, taking 708 wickets, and was also a useful lower-order batsman, with a highest Test score of 99.

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In addition to his international exploits, Warne also enjoyed a successful career with his Australian state side Victoria and English county team Hampshire.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials have spoken to those travelling with Warne and will arrive in Koh Samui on Saturday.

"DFAT is working with Thai authorities to confirm arrangements following his passing, assist with his repatriation and provide other assistance on the ground," she said.

Following his international retirement, Warne continued to star on the Twenty20 franchise circuit, appearing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and his hometown Melbourne Stars in the KFC BBL.

He subsequently became a highly regarded television commentator and pundit, renowned for his forthright opinions, and was involved with coaching, working individually with current-day leg-spinners.

Warne's sphere extended far beyond cricket, with movie stars and rock icons and athletes across the sporting spectrum paying tribute.

Hollywood star Russell Crowe tweeted he was having a hard time accepting the news. 

"Genius player. Grand company. Loyal friend," he tweeted.

Actor Hugh Jackman wrote: "I’m grateful to have known him, and to have witnessed his once in a generation talent."

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger said he was saddened by Warne's passing.

"He brought such joy to the game and was the greatest spin bowler ever," he tweeted.

Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran wrote: "Shane was the kindest heart, and always went above and beyond to make people feel welcome and special. Such a gentleman.

"He gave so many hours and years of his life to bring joy to others, and was such an amazing friend to me. I'll bloody miss you mate. Absolutely gutted."

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Australian actor Magda Szubanski, who worked with Warne on the sitcom Kath & Kim, said she was in utter shock.

"Inconceivable that a life crammed with so much genius and larrikin charm could be snuffed out so suddenly and so soon," she posted on Instagram.

"This is a shocking loss for our nation and for the cricketing world. And poor Sharon has lost her hero and the love of her life."

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