British TV host Piers Morgan has paid tribute to his ‘great loyal friend’ Shane Warne following the cricketer’s sudden death from a heart attack.
Morgan, 56, described Australia’s greatest ever leg-spinner as ‘a one-off blonde blokey bundle of restless, mischievous, competitive, big-hearted, cigar-chomping, pizza-loving, larrikin fun’.
He said the pair planned to meet for dinner in Melbourne while he was in Australia but wasn’t able to travel due to Sydney’s massive storms.
Morgan, a devoted cricket fan, admitted Warne’s death hit him like a ‘sucker-punch’ and was sad he would never again play golf or have dinner with his friend.
British TV host Piers Morgan has paid tribute to his ‘great loyal friend’ Shane Warne following the cricketer’s sudden death in Koh Samui on Friday (pictured, the pair in 2015)
When news of ‘Warnie’s’ death first broke, Morgan posted a photo of the cricketer to Twitter and announced he was ‘absolutely devastated’ (pictured)
Warne played twice in Morgan’s annual cricket match in his Sussex village of Newick and graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with locals.
The pair were also in regular communication over WhatsApp and most recently debated whether Vegemite or its UK equivalent Marmite was better.
Morgan remembered taking Shane as his plus one to an interview with American actor Charlie Sheen in a London theatre – recalling the enigmatic pair got on like ‘long-lost twins’.
When asked what English woman Sheen would most like to seduce he coincidentally decided on Liz Hurley – Warne’s ex-girlfriend at the time.
Shane laughed along with the audience and texted Morgan afterwards: ‘What a classic! That kind of s**t only ever happens to me, hahaha!’
Morgan also shared the story of the last time he saw Warne, four months before his death when they both played in the Dunhill Links pro-am golf tournament in Scotland.
The night before the final round, Morgan remembers Warne having a few too many of his favoured tipple, a vodka redbull, and partied until 5am.
With just two hours sleep, the sportsman played one of the best golf games of his life, telling his friend he had ‘no idea’ how he pulled it off.
Morgan said the cricketer ‘packed more fun into his 52 years that anyone I’ve met in my entire life’.
‘And for all his self-confessed marital flaws, he was a brilliant loving father to his three children, a wonderful caring son to his ever-supportive parents, and a fantastically loyal, kind and generous friend,’ he continued.
He described the much-loved cricketer as a ‘hyperactive Labrador’ who had time for everyone and could be relied upon to stick to his word.
Morgan posted a collage of photos of himself and the cricketer to Instagram (pictured), revealing he felt ‘absolutely devastated’ by his sudden passing
The last text message he received from his friend was after he tweeted an observation about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
‘When did we get so pathetically spineless in the face of nasty little bullies?’ Morgan tweeted, to which ‘Warnie’ replied: ‘Spot on mate!’
Morgan said his ‘great loyal friend’ was one of the first people to call after he left Good Morning Britain over comments he made about Meghan Markle.
He said they shared an aversion to the ‘cancel culture woke brigade, whining snowflakes, lying politicians and political correctness’.
‘I’m absolutely gutted he’s gone so soon and will miss him enormously,’ he wrote, adding he had enjoyed every second with his ‘exhilarating’ company.
When news of Warne’s death first broke, Morgan posted a photo of the cricketer to Twitter and announced he was ‘absolutely devastated’.
‘He was a genius cricketer, a supreme entertainer, a fantastic bloke and a great loyal friend for many years. Just gutting news. RIP Warnie, I loved every minute in your company,’ he wrote.
The host called for the father-of-three to be posthumously knighted as one of Wisden’s greatest cricketers of the 20th Century.
‘He wasn’t Mother Teresa but if Gavin bloody Williamson can get a gong then so should Warnie, posthumously, for services to cricket and charity,’ he tweeted.
Tributes from around the world have rolled in for the legendary sportsman with Australia caption Pat Cummins delivering a moving video tribute to his hero.
Morgan said the legendary cricketer was ‘a brilliant loving father’ to his three children
The Australian cricket legend (pictured with his son Jackson) suffered a suspected fatal heart attack in his room at the luxury Samujana Villas resort
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.
‘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.’
It comes as its reported the cricketer’s three children are in ‘complete shock’ over the sudden passing of their iconic father who died in Thailand on Friday.
The Australian cricket legend suffered a suspected fatal heart attack in his room at the luxury Samujana Villas resort.
Piers Morgan has called for Shane Warne (pictured in 2006) to be posthumously knighted as one of Wisden’s greatest cricketers of the 20th Century
Warne pictured with his former wife and the mother of his three children, Simone Callahan, in 1995
Jackson Warne, 23, told his father’s long-time manager James Erskine that he and his siblings, Brooke, 24, and Summer, 20, ‘expect him to walk through the door’ any minute.
‘This is like a bad dream,’ Jackson reportedly told him.
‘I think the three children are in complete shock,’ Erskine said on the Today show.
‘One minute the kids are talking to him every day, the next minute they can’t talk to him and they start thinking about he’s not going to be there for my 21st, he’s not going to take me down the aisle.’
Erskine said Warne’s children are ‘having a much harder time than anybody’ after the 52-year-old’s tragic death.
His ex-wife, and the mother of his children, Simone Callahan is also said to be ‘really upset’ at the thought of her children having to move on without their beloved dad.
Friend Andrew Neophitou found the leg spinner unresponsive in his room and desperately tried to revive him by performing CPR for 20 minutes – but Warne couldn’t be saved and later died in hospital.
Jackson Warne, 23, (right) told his father’s long-time manager James Erskine that he and his siblings, Brooke, 24, and Summer, 20, ‘expect him to walk through the door’ any minute
Warne’s final Instagram post from Koh Samui’s Samujana Villa, Thailand. The cricketing legend was on a break with four friends
Thai police revealed on Saturday that they found his room splattered with bloodstains from the prolonged CPR but have ruled out foul play.
Two piles of blood were found on the carpet at the foot of Warne’s bed as well as three blood-stained towels, and one pillow, with blood stains also on the mattress.
Ambulance crews also reported a pool of vomit by the bed.
Australian government officials have now met with Warne’s friends in Koh Samui to discuss bringing his body home to Melbourne.
It’s understood his family desperately want to avoid having an autopsy on the father-of-three in Thailand so he can be returned to Australia as soon as possible.
James Erskine – the cricketer’s long-time manager – said Warne’s children are ‘having a much harder time than anybody’ after the 52-year-old’s tragic death
It’s understood his family desperately want to avoid having an autopsy on the father-of-three in Thailand so he can be returned to Australia as soon as possible
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.
Thai police 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.