CWM honors Shane Warne (Getty)
Shane Warne was remembered as “mesmerizing” and a “genius” at a state memorial service in Melbourne on Wednesday, attended by tens of thousands of spectators and legendary players, along with music superstars Elton John and Chris Martin performing via video link.
SUMMARY | Shane Warne Farewell Service
The beloved Australian cricketer died this month at a luxury resort in Thailand of a suspected heart attack, aged 52, to the shock and grief of his millions of fans as well as prime ministers, rock stars and other players.
The larger-than-life ‘spin king’ was honored during a two-hour service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with more than 50,000 free tickets given away. It was broadcast live on cricket grounds across Australia and watched around the world.
“Envisioning a future without Shane is inconceivable,” his heartbroken father Keith said after beating Greta, granddaughter of the great Donald Bradman, who sang the national anthem to kick off the proceedings.
“But we take comfort in knowing that Shane has done more in his lifetime of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes.”
Warne’s son Jackson said there was ‘no other better place in the world’ to hold the memorial than the famous MCG where Warne made so many memories, including a hat-trick in an Ashes Test against England and winning their 700th Test wicket.
“It’s very special for many of us, especially our family,” he said.
A ground stand has been officially renamed in honor of Warne, who many believe is second only to Bradman in the long list of Australian sports greats.
Some fans in attendance wore their cricket kit, while others wore emotional Warne t-shirts as they took photos in front of his statue outside the venue.
A woman showed off her new Warne thigh tattoo, which she had done last week.
Mark Taylor, who commissioned it for Australia, said the huge interest showed “how much Shane Warne is admired”.
“Having him have this rough diamond character about him has made him what people like to see. People like to see something a little different, and they got that with Warnie,” Taylor said. to journalists.
Fellow Australian captain Allan Border called him a “genius”.
“I don’t know how the Oxford Dictionary defines genius, but he’s as close to genius as I am, the way he developed his game and transcended everything,” he said. “He left us with a flood of memories and such good times.”
Current Australian Test captain Pat Cummins posted a moving tribute online, reading a poignant poem written about Warne while skipper for a day Aaron Finch highlighted the charity work of his fellow Victorian.
“His cricketing skill was one thing, but his generous heart was second to none,” Finch said from Pakistan.
Music stars Elton John, Martin, Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran all played songs via video link.
“It’s a sad day today but it’s not in some ways because his legacy lives on and he will live on through future generations because he was fascinating, brilliant and loved to play cricket and loved life “, said John before singing “Don’t Let”. The sun sets on me.
A barefoot Martin, on piano, performed ‘Eulogy’, a track he wrote for Warne, before a solo acoustic rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’.
Hollywood star Hugh Jackman was among others appearing from a distance, as were golfer Greg Norman and surfing giant Kelly Slater.
Cricket greats such as Brian Lara and Nasser Hussain were among a range of former serving players.
Credited with reviving the art of the leg-spin, Warne won 708 Test wickets as part of a dominant Australian side in the 1990s and 2000s before becoming a respected commentator.
Prior to state service in his memory, Warne’s family, friends and teammates mourned him at a private funeral on March 20.