The shattered family of Shane Warne are facing a battle with Thai red tape to bring his body back home to Australia as the world mourns one of the cricket greats.
Warne, 52, died of a suspected heart attack at the luxury Samujana Villas resort on the island of Koh Samui on Friday evening.
Friend Andrew Neophitou found the legspinner unresponsive in his room and desperately tried to revive him and performed CPR for 20 minutes – but Warne couldn’t be saved and later died in hospital.
Thai police have ruled out foul play and Australian government officials met with Warne’s friends in Koh Samui on Saturday night to discuss bringing his remains home to Melbourne.
It’s understood his family desperately want to avoid having an autopsy on the father-of-three in Thailand so his body can return to Australia as soon as possible.
The family of Shane Warne (pictured with Elizabeth Hurley) are working to bring his body home to Australia
Warne, 52, died of a suspected heart attack at the luxury Samujana Villas resort on the island of Koh Samui on Friday evening
But Thai authorities are insisting they want to carry out the post-mortem before his remains are released to the family to be flown home.
Thai police have said the body must undergo an autopsy to find the cause of death and a report will then be sent to the Australian embassy in Thailand.
‘We just really want to get Shane home.’ Mr Neophitou said after meeting Thai police at Bo Phut Police Station on Saturday.
Lieutenant-colonel Chatchawin Nakmusik said he needed the results of the autopsy to close the case before releasing the body.
‘I am waiting for the autopsy report. If there is nothing suspicious, then the case is closed,’ he told The Guardian
‘The family will be responsible to take the body back to their home country.’
Staff at the Koh Samui Hospital have said they will wait for police or Warne’s family to request an autopsy, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said department officials were meeting with Warne’s ravel companions on Saturday night and speaking with Thai authorities to arrange bringing his body to Australia.
‘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.
Australia’s Ambassador to Thailand Allan McKinnon is seen outside the Bo Phut police station on Saturday evening
The friends Warne was travelling with are seen speaking with police in Koh Samui on Saturday
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said department officials were meeting with Warne’s travel companions on Saturday night and speaking with Thai authorities to arrange bringing his body to Australia
Australian consulate officials have now arrived at Koh Samui to try to cut through the red tape on the family’s behalf.
The Australian Ambassador Allan McKinnon arrived on the island late on Saturday to try to negotiate a deal with Thai officials to allow the body to be released to the family with the minimum of delay.
An official certificate written in English with the cause of death will have to accompany Warne’s body for it to be brought back to Australia, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The family are believd to be concerned the process will delay Warne coming home by several days.
Daily Mail Australia understands Warne’s body is currently in the Koh Samui Hospital morgue after forensic investigators examined Warne’s room on Saturday evening.
New details have also now emerged about the desperate fight to keep Warne alive after he was found unconscious in his room.
Warne had arrived in Thailand just one night before his death, for a week-long boys trip with Mr Neophitou and two others.
He’d planned to meet friends for a drink at 5pm but when the ever punctual Warne was 15 minutes late, Mr Neophitou knew something was wrong.
His friend then spent 20 minutes performing CPR on the 52-year-old.
Mr Nakmusik told Reuters an emergency response unit arrived and performed CPR on Warne for another ten to 20 minutes.
Devastated Australians paid their respects to Warne at his statue at the MCG on Saturday
Warne is seen with Eddie McGuire and Triple M host Mick Molloy
‘Then an ambulance from the Thai International Hospital arrived and took him there. They did CPR for five minutes, and then he died,’ he said.
Warne’s long time manager James Erskine had the heartbreaking task of informing his family he had died.
‘They were going to have a drink at 5pm or go and meet someone to go out and have a drink at 5pm, and Neo knocked on his door at 5.15 because Warnie is always on time,’ he said on a Fox Sport special.
‘And he went in there and said ‘come on, you’re going to be late’ and then realised something was wrong.
‘And he turned him over and gave him CPR and mouth to mouth, which lasted about 20 minutes and then the ambulance came.
‘They took him to the hospital, which was about a 20-minute drive and I got a phone call about 45 minutes later saying he was pronounced dead.’
A state funeral has been offered to farewell Warne. He is pictured with Ricky Ponting
A devastated cricket fan is seen at the MCG after the news broke Shane Warne had died
Erskine told Nine Newspapers that Warne’s children Brooke, Summer and Jackson were ‘shattered by their father’s sudden death, and had been visited by their grandfather, Keith, early on Saturday.
‘He didn’t drink much. Everyone thinks he’s a big boozer but he’s not a big boozer at all,’ Erskine said.
‘I sent him a crate of wine, 10 years later it’s still there. He doesn’t drink, never took drugs, ever. He hated drugs so nothing untoward.
‘He was going to do the things he likes doing. He was going to play in one or two poker competitions, play a lot of golf, be with his kids, that was about it; [to] have time to himself.’
Warne’s family have been offered to farewell him in a state funeral.
The state funeral is set to be held in Melbourne, with a date to be confirmed in consultation with the Warne family, Cricket Australia and the Victorian Government ‘to ensure it honours Shane’s passing and memory’.
Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula has also announced the Great Southern Stand at the MCG will be renamed the S.K. Warne Stand.
‘Shane was one of our greatest cricketers of all time, one of only a few that could approach the extraordinary achievements of the great Don Bradman. His achievements were the product of his talent, his discipline and passion for the game he loved,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘But Shane was more than this to Australians. Shane was one of our nation’s greatest characters. His humour, his passion, his irreverence, his approachability ensured he was loved by all. Australians loved him. We all did.’
Warne’s father, Keith, was seen looking sombre outside his Black Rock property in Melbourne on Saturday morning.
Warne pictured with his former wife and the mother of his three children, Simone Callahan, in 1995
Warne is chaired from the field by team-mates Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden after leading Australia to victory in the fourth Test match against England at the MCG in Melbourne, 2006
His mother Brigitte spoke briefly to the Herald Sun outside the home.
‘We’re just in shock… we’re ok,’ she said.
Warne’s brother Jason and his nephew Sebastian were later seen visiting the property to comfort his parents.
His daughter, Brooke, 24, was later seen returning home with partner Alex Heath after spending the day consoling her mother and Warne’s ex-wife Simone.
Meanwhile, countless cricket fans have paid their respects to Warne, with many leaving beers and canned baked beans at the foot of his statue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Cans of VB, cigarettes, cricket balls, heartfelt letters and even a slice of pizza were all left to honour the bowling legend.
Others just rested their hand against his statue as they farewelled the man who was a hero to many cricket lovers.
THE WORLD REACTS TO SHANE WARNE’S DEATH
* ‘I thought nothing could ever happen to him. He lived more in his life than most people would live in 20.’ – Glenn McGrath
* ‘He has had a turbulent life but a very full life … you just felt, I certainly did, he would go on forever.’ – Mark Taylor
* ‘Shocked, stunned & miserable … there was never a dull moment with you around.’ – Sachin Tendulkar
* ‘I am shocked to the core. This can’t be true.’ – Viv Richards
* ‘We have lost one of the greatest sportsmen of all time!’ – Brian Lara
* ‘The game of cricket was never the same after Shane emerged and it will never be the same now he has gone.’ – Pat Cummins
* ‘He brought such joy to the game and was the greatest spin bowler ever.’ – Mick Jagger
* ‘Heaven will be a lively place now the King has arrived.’ – Michael Vaughan
* ‘Please no ….heartbroken. Already miss ‘The King.’ – Brendon McCullum
* ‘Numb.’ – Adam Gilchrist
* ‘I cannot process the passing of this great of our sport.’ – Virat Kohli
* ‘The man who made spin cool.’ – Virendar Sehwag
* ‘It’s just unfathomable.’ – Mark Waugh
* ‘The RockStar of cricket! Gone too soon.’ – Brett Lee
* ‘Genius player. Grand company. Loyal friend.’ – Russell Crowe
* ‘The biggest superstar of my generation gone.’ – Waqar Younis
* ‘Played hard on field and was one of the first to have a beer with you after.’ – Jacques Kallis
– Australian Associated Press
Many sporting greats, celebrities and politicians have meanwhile paid their respects to the man who changed the world of cricket.
Top cricket commentator Isa Guha who spent countless matches in the box with Warne tried to fight back tears as she remembered the cricket great.
‘Just stunned … just loved him,’ she said as she tried to hold back tears. ‘He just did so much for so many people and he was magic,’ she said on Fox Sports.
‘He was magic, watching him on the screen as a cricketer. He made people feel that much taller – ten feet taller.’
His former teammates Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting shared their own messages to the cricket great.
McGrath said he was ‘absolutely devastated’.
‘Warnie was larger than life,’ he wrote. ‘I thought nothing could ever happen to him. He lived more in his life than most people would live in 20.
‘He was the ultimate competitor. He thought the game was never lost, that he could turn it around and bring us to victory, which he did so many times. I think he lived his life the same way. There seemed to be never a dull moment.’
Ponting, 47, met Warne at the age of 15, and credited him for giving him the nickname of Punter.
‘We were teammates for more than a decade, riding all the highs and lows together,’ Ponting said.
‘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.’
SHANE WARNE’S GREATEST EIGHT MOMENTS
COLOMBO COMEBACK, 1992
Before the Gatting ball there was the miracle in Colombo that truly announced Warne on the world stage. Chasing 181 for victory, Sri Lanka were cruising at 2-127. Enter Australia’s spinners. Greg Matthews took 4-37 and Warne snapped up 3-0 in his last 13 balls to win the match for Australia, even though the youngster had the unwanted career figures of 1-335 before being handed the ball. From there, Warne never looked back.
WEST INDIES MAYHEM, 1992-93
The moment most Australian fans realised the talent that had just emerged. After missing the first Test of the series, Warne took 7-52 in the second innings at the MCG to bowl Australia to victory against the might of the West Indies. The success doubles as Warne’s first match on his beloved home ground, where he’d eventually take 56 Test wickets.
THE GATTING BALL, 1993
Warne was the ultimate showman and he couldn’t have scripted it better himself. With his first Test delivery in England, he drifted the ball across the right-hander, had it dip, pitch outside leg, spin enough to beat the bat and claim the top of off-stump. Gatting’s bemused face said it all and from that moment on England were deer in Warne’s headlights.
THE HAT-TRICK, 1994-95
A month after destroying England again with 8-71 in the first Test at the Gabba, Warne claimed his famous hat-trick at the MCG when he removed Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in three straight balls. Warne finished the series with 27 wickets at 20.33.
WORLD CUP HEROICS, 1999
Three years after helping engineer a comeback to put Australia into the 1996 decider, Warne was at it again. He took 3-3 from his first three overs after South Africa were in control at 0-48 in pursuit of 214, before coming back late to finish 4-29 in the famous tie. He was then man-of-the-match in the final, taking 4-33 against Pakistan as Australia lifted the trophy.
THE PAKISTAN JOB, 2002
An oft-forgotten example of Warne’s dominance. In one of the most one-sided series in history, Warne took 27 wickets at an average of 12.66. In doing so, he took almost half of the wickets available to him in the series and helped Australia wrap up a Test inside two days in Sharjah.
ONE-MAN BAND, 2005
Australia’s only Ashes loss of Warne’s career should have spelled a low point, but with Glenn McGrath in and out with injury the legspinner truly stepped up. He claimed 40 wickets at 19.92 for the series, the most by an Australian in a five-match Ashes. His ball to bowl Andrew Strauss in front of his pads is arguably better than the Gatting ball 12 years earlier.
700TH WICKET, 2006-07
Warne scripted the perfect ending by announcing he would retire at summer’s end with Australia 3-0 up in the Ashes and himself on 699 wickets ahead of the MCG Boxing Day Test. In the perfect farewell, Warne bowled Strauss to become the first to reach 700 wickets before helping Australia to just the second 5-0 Ashes whitewash in history. Not content with that, he also went past 1000 international wickets in all forms of the game in his SCG swansong.
– Australian Associated Press