Ricky Ponting breaks down as he pays tribute to Shane Warne as Sam Newman shares touching tribute


Ricky Ponting has broken down in tears as he paid tribute to Shane Warne – while AFL legend Sam Newman remembered a ‘man of excess’ who had an ‘immense love of life’.

The ex-Australian cricket captain choked up as he recalled his early memories of the late cricket legend when Ponting was a 15-year-old rising through the ranks for Tasmania.

‘He’d driven his car across to Launceston and we’d hang out and do a fair bit together,’ Ponting recalled before caught by a wave of emotion.

He broke down again moments later as he told how the renaming of the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s Great Southern Stand after Warne was ‘the ultimate recognition of one of the world’s great sportsmen’.

Newman – a close friend of the 52-year-old – said he was in a state of shock when he heard Warne had died of a suspected heart attack at a luxury villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday.

Ex-Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting broke down in tears as he paid tribute to his teammate, friend and late cricket legend Shane Warne

Ex-Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting broke down in tears as he paid tribute to his teammate, friend and late cricket legend Shane Warne

The footy great spoke to Warne the day he flew out for the holiday, with the pair planning to look at a new car the cricket legend had his eye on when he returned to Australia. 

The 76-year-old said he thought he was dreaming when he received an alert on his phone telling him the spin bowling icon was dead.

‘I put the phone back on the bedside table and I lay there for about two minutes.. and I thought, “what was that?”‘ he told 7News. 

‘I picked it up again and I just couldn’t believe it.’

The former Footy Show host said Warne always had his back and was particularly supportive when Newman’s wife Amanda died suddenly last year.

‘He really cared about how I was going,’ he said. 

Newman said those who met Warne for the first time could tell the strength of his character purely by his handshake.

Sam Newman said he was in a state of shock when he heard his close friend had died of a suspected heart attack at a luxury villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday. The two are pictured together on the golf course

Sam Newman said he was in a state of shock when he heard his close friend had died of a suspected heart attack at a luxury villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday. The two are pictured together on the golf course

‘When you meet someone and you shake their hand, you can tell their character by their handshake,’ he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Monday morning.

‘He would pierce you with his eyes – he was like a magnet and would stare straight through your eyes into the back of your skull to see if you were with him.

‘He had his flaws, he was a man of excess – but he also had an immense love of life.’

The two ex-sporting stars were each other’s golf buddies and Newman said the pair bonded over their love of the game.

Newman said he thought he was dreaming when he received an alert on his phone telling him the spin bowling icon was dead

Newman said he thought he was dreaming when he received an alert on his phone telling him the spin bowling icon was dead

‘He was just so competitive,’ Newman said. ‘But he was also very fair and admirable on the golf course.

‘You could tell the battle you were going to have by the handicap he was going to give you – none.’

The tributes came as it emerged Warne ordered a suit and two masseuses hours before his death.

Warne pictured shaking TV host Piers Morgan's hand during an Ashes Test Match at the MCG between England and Australia on December 27. Newman said those who met Warne for the first time could tell the strength of his character purely by his handshake

Warne pictured shaking TV host Piers Morgan’s hand during an Ashes Test Match at the MCG between England and Australia on December 27. Newman said those who met Warne for the first time could tell the strength of his character purely by his handshake

Sam Newman and Shane Warne are pictured together at Twilight Beach Polo in St Kilda, Melbourne on February 5

Sam Newman and Shane Warne are pictured together at Twilight Beach Polo in St Kilda, Melbourne on February 5

The 52-year-old was looking to buy a new suit when he decided to order one through a tailor on Koh Samui on Friday. 

Local police said Warne then went back to his villa at the Samujana resort before he ordered two Thai masseuses who gave him a massage in one of the rooms.

Warne had plans to head out for drinks later that night with four friends who were holidaying with him at the luxury resort.

But he was found unresponsive after suffering a suspected heart attack as he and his mates took an afternoon nap hours before they were meant to head out.

Shane Warne ordered a new suit and two masseuses hours before he died of a suspected heart attack at a luxury villa in Thailand - as his final moments are revealed by devastated friends

Shane Warne ordered a new suit and two masseuses hours before he died of a suspected heart attack at a luxury villa in Thailand – as his final moments are revealed by devastated friends

Local police said Warne then went back to his villa at the Samujana resort before he ordered two Thai masseuses who gave him a massage in one of the rooms (stock image)

Local police said Warne then went back to his villa at the Samujana resort before he ordered two Thai masseuses who gave him a massage in one of the rooms (stock image)

Paramedic Anuch Han-Iam, who was one of the first responders on the scene, said Warne’s friends were already performing CPR when they arrived at the villa. 

‘They were trying to bring him back to life… they were desperate. I think one was crying. Really stressed and panicked,’ he told The Sun.

‘They kept trying to wake him… I heard someone saying ”come on Shane, come on”.’

Mr Han-Iam said there were no women in the room, nor was there ‘anything unusual that made [him] think they’d been partying’.    

Pictured: The body of Australian cricket player Shane Warne is transported from Koh Samui Hospital mortuary

Pictured: The body of Australian cricket player Shane Warne is transported from Koh Samui Hospital mortuary

‘I did my best for him and gave all my energy. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t help him.’

The local police chief said Warne visited a tailor to have a suit made earlier on Friday and ordered two local masseuses to come to his villa.    

‘He called the girl to massage. It was just massage. He didn’t die because of the massage. He wasn’t well,’ he said.

A mortuary worker at Koh Samui Hospital. It's understood Warne's body will be taken to Surat Thani Hospital - 650km south of Bangkok - for the autopsy

A mortuary worker at Koh Samui Hospital. It’s understood Warne’s body will be taken to Surat Thani Hospital – 650km south of Bangkok – for the autopsy

One of Warne’s holiday companions, Sporting News chief executive Tom Hall, revealed the final moments of Warne including an unexpected gift and his last meal. 

Hall, who met Warne at a charity poker tournament 15 years ago, was one of the four friends who was with Warne during his final hours.  

‘I have dined with Shane in many fine establishments, but rather than sample some of the local Thai fare, we tuck into a plate of Vegemite on toast,’ Hall wrote on Sporting News.

‘Shane chomping away: ‘Geez, you can’t beat Vegemite with some butter, always great wherever you are in the world’.

A mortuary worker disinfects himself as he prepares to move Warne's body, just two days after he tragically died while on a holiday with his mates in Thailand

A mortuary worker disinfects himself as he prepares to move Warne’s body, just two days after he tragically died while on a holiday with his mates in Thailand

On the same day, Hall and his friends Andrew Neophitou, Gaz, and Fred were discussing with Warne the best way to watch the Australia vs Pakistan Test on TV.

The cricket legend then ducked into his room before emerging with a very surprising set of gifts for Hall.

‘Shane had been working with me at The Sporting News for the past year or so and he presented me with his jumper from the 2005 Ashes Test, his 2008 IPL shirt and a one-day international shirt and cap to place in the TSN offices in Australia and the UK,’ Hall wrote. 

The ferry containing the body of Shane Warne departs for Surat Thani

The ferry containing the body of Shane Warne departs for Surat Thani 

Warne entertained his longtime friend with stories about the first season of the Indian Premier League – not knowing it would be one of the last conversations shared between the pair. 

Emergency services arrived at the Koh Samui Hospital mortuary at about 8am Sunday local time (12pm AEDT) to transport the late 52-year-old, two days after he suffered a suspected heart attack while holidaying on the Thai island with friends. 

Warne’s family hoped to avoid a post-mortem in Thailand so his body could be flown back to Australia as soon as possible.  

Jackson Warne shared a final photo with his famous dad (right and centre) on January 31, 2022. The pair were pictured beaming while watching the Australian Open alongside Australian Rules footballer Steven Baker

Jackson Warne shared a final photo with his famous dad (right and centre) on January 31, 2022. The pair were pictured beaming while watching the Australian Open alongside Australian Rules footballer Steven Baker

But on Sunday, the cricketing legend’s body was covered in a purple blanket and put into an ambulance to then board a car ferry destined for Surat Thani Hospital – 650km south of Bangkok – for the autopsy.   

Department of Foreign Affairs officials were on board the ferry with Warne’s friends and Australian ambassador Allan McKinnon.

Thai police said the body must be examined to find the cause of death and a report will then be sent to the Australian embassy in Bangkok. 

‘I am waiting for the autopsy report. If there is nothing suspicious, then the case is closed,’ Thai police lieutenant-colonel Chatchawin Nakmusik said on Saturday.

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