Shane Warne: Michael Clarke pens emotional essay about 'true friend' after cricket legend's death


Former Australian test captain Michael Clarke has penned an emotional tribute to Shane Warne describing him as a ‘true friend’ who he ‘idolised’.

The 52-year-old ‘King of Spin’ died of a heart attack at a Thailand resort on Saturday night, shocking cricket fans and players around the world.

Clarke, who Warne hand picked to take his famous no.23 shirt number, said the proud Victorian took him under his wing from his first day in the national team and would constantly drop what he was doing when asked for help. 

‘One of the first times I ever went to Warnie’s house, I remember buzzing, but he’d already left the door open for me. I walk in and I’m like, ‘King, where are you?’ Clarke wrote in the Herald Sun.

‘And he’s in his lounge room, inside his own personal solarium with the goggles and Speedos on and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. That was Warnie.’

Former Australian test captain Michael Clarke (pictured left) has penned an emotional tribute to Shane Warne (center) describing him as a 'true friend' who he 'idolised'

Former Australian test captain Michael Clarke (pictured left) has penned an emotional tribute to Shane Warne (center) describing him as a ‘true friend’ who he ‘idolised’

Clarke (pictured left with Warne) said the proud Victorian took him under his wing from his first day in the national team and would constantly drop what he was doing when asked for help

Clarke (pictured left with Warne) said the proud Victorian took him under his wing from his first day in the national team and would constantly drop what he was doing when asked for help

Clarke, who hit 151 against India on debut, quickly became Australian cricket’s golden boy.

Like Warne, he constantly found himself on the front page of gossip magazines alongside then-girlfriend Lara Bingle.

The 40-year-old said Warne immediately embraced him upon debuting for his country and was always available to give him advice.

‘I idolised him, I looked up to him and he was the superstar of the sport I adored,’ Clarke wrote.

‘But from the day we met, I felt like we were friends. I don’t know why he was so open, kind and generous and loving towards me from day one – but he was.’

He revealed he constantly turned to Warne for support and advice, saying he would ‘drop everything’ for him.

The 40-year-old said Warne immediately embraced him upon debuting for his country and was always available to give him advice

The 40-year-old said Warne immediately embraced him upon debuting for his country and was always available to give him advice

'I idolised him, I looked up to him and he was the superstar of the sport I adored,' Clarke wrote

‘I idolised him, I looked up to him and he was the superstar of the sport I adored,’ Clarke wrote

‘There wasn’t a time I couldn’t pick up the phone. There wasn’t a time I couldn’t cry. There wasn’t a time when, whatever it was I needed – he wouldn’t drop everything to be my friend,’ Clarke said.

‘That is what makes this so difficult.’

The 40-year-old even revealed Warne flew all the way back from the UK to Sydney for Clarke’s birthday party – which turned out to be a surprise engagement.

‘What a legend. What a true friend he was,’ he said.

Warne (pictured right) flew from the UK to Australia for what he thought was a regular birthday party for Clarke (left) - but turned out to be an engagement party with then-girlfriend Lara Bingle (center right)

Warne (pictured right) flew from the UK to Australia for what he thought was a regular birthday party for Clarke (left) – but turned out to be an engagement party with then-girlfriend Lara Bingle (center right)

Clarke said he 'idolised' his 'great friend' and is still coming to terms with his shock death

Clarke said he ‘idolised’ his ‘great friend’ and is still coming to terms with his shock death

Clarke told Kyle and Jackie O on Monday morning he is still coming to terms with the ‘surreal’ death of Warne and that his close teammate was an inspiration on and off the field.  

‘He celebrated the journey,’ he told the KIIS radio show. ‘That’s something I need to recognise more: you have to celebrate the good times.

‘Warnie did that on the field – the way he played – and off the field – the way he celebrated life. He did it better than anyone and if we can take one thing from his legacy, it’s to celebrate life.’  

A grief-stricken Michael Clarke says he is still coming to terms with the 'surreal' death of Shane Warne and that his close friend was an inspiration on and off the field

A grief-stricken Michael Clarke says he is still coming to terms with the ‘surreal’ death of Shane Warne and that his close friend was an inspiration on and off the field

Warne died from a suspected heart attack while he was on holiday with four friends at the Samujana resort on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday.

Clarke was sleeping at his home in Sydney when he received a call from his publicity agent breaking the shocking news at 1am on Saturday.

‘To be honest, I recognise someone close to me has passed, but I don’t think I still comprehend it’s one of my best friends,’ Clarke said on Monday.

‘It’s going to take a bit of time. It’s certainly still surreal. Because it happened so quickly, it’s so hard to believe, you know?’

Clarke said even though Warne died at the young age of 52, his outgoing personality meant he ‘lived a life worth 100 years’.

‘I think everyone that knows and loves him, we’ll be celebrating his life for days, months and years,’ he said.

Clarke has been surrounded by loved ones during the difficult time with family and friends visiting his Sydney home on Saturday.        

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