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Shane Warne dies, aged 52


Australian cricketer Shane Warne, one of the finest leg-spin bowlers of all time whose talent and personality transcended the sport, has died aged 52, his family said on Friday.

Warne, who ended his spell-binding international playing career that stretched from 1992 to 2007 with a remarkable 708 test wickets, died on Friday from a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand, his family confirmed in a statement published by the Telegraph newspaper in Sydney.

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"Shane was found unresponsive in his Villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived," the statement read.

"The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course."

His death comes hours after another former Australian cricket great, wicket-keeper Rod Marsh died on Friday at the age of 74.

Current Australia batsman David Warner wrote on Instagram: "Two legends of our game have left us too soon. I’m lost for words, and this is extremely sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Marsh and Warne family. I just can not believe it. #rip, you will both be missed."

Warne's last post on Twitter, 12 hours before his death was reported was a tribute to Marsh.

"Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed. He was a legend of our great game & inspiration to so many young boys &girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket & gave so much-especially to Australia & England players. Sending lots & lots of love to Ros & the family."

After ending his test career, Warne played in the Indian Premier League and other Twenty20 competitions before retiring from all international cricket in 2013, but continued to be involved in the game as a broadcaster.

Warne was not only one of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game but he can also probably be credited with saving the art of spin bowling in a sport that had ecome dominated by relentless pace.

His extraordinary figures tell the first half of the story and the proliferation of leg-spin bowlers, at the sharp end of the attack in almost every form of the game now, shows the other.

Warne died at the age of 52 from a suspected heart attack on Friday, hours after tweeting his love to the family of another Australian test legend, wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died on Thursday.

Warne wrote that Marsh was "an inspiration to so many young boys and girls" - an epitaph that the peerless leg spinner deserves 10-times over.

Warne finished his career with 708 wickets in 145 tests, a record that was later broken by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800), which included a career-best of 8-71 against England at the Gabba.

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He also picked up 293 ODI wickets and won the World Cup with Australia in 1999. Warne too was a handy late-order batsman. Though his test average was only 17.3, he took the role seriously and holds the record for the most Test runs (3,154) without a century - his highest score being 99.

Of those 708 wickets, none would or could have made more impact than his first Ashes wicket, the infamous "ball of the century" that pitched outside leg stump and took off to shatter England batsman Mike Gatting's off peg at Old Trafford in the 1993 series.

Never before had a new talent blasted onto the scene in such devastating style.

Warne went on to become part of an all-conquering Australia side, with the likes of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie delivering relentlessly accurate pace attack that left Warne to rip into the worn-down batsmen.

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When their job was done, the formidable batting line-up, headed by the likes of Mark Taylor, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting, built totals that were a bowler's dream and opened the door for Warne to clean up and win match after match, series after series.

His endlessly repeatable action meant he could bowl marathon spells and such was his accuracy that, alongside being a demon attacking weapon, he was also parsimonious in terms of leaking runs - another unusual aspect for a spinner that made him effective in one-day games.

It was not all plain sailing, however, as in 2003 he failed a doping test for a diuretic and was banned from all cricket for a year - ruling him out of Australia's defence of the World Cup.

He returned from the layoff refreshed and fit and continued to take big hauls as he became the game's all-time leading wicket-taker in a cat-and-mouse competition with Muralitharan.

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His final test was at Sydney in 2007 when he took his 1,000th international wicket in all forms of the game.

His career continued in T20, where he was a hugely popular captain of the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, has also made friends with his oldest enemies in England as captain of County side Hampshire.

Having got a taste for broadcasting during his ban year, Warne became a hugely respected pundit after his retirement, never happier than when analyzing the delivery of the latest spinner to follow in his footsteps.

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