Famed Australian cricket pro Shane Warne, who parlayed his competitive drive and love for poker into a post-retirement role as global ambassador for 888poker, has passed away suddenly at age 52. Warned died unexpectedly while on vacation in Thailand from a suspected heart attack, though an official cause of death has yet to be determined.
Warne’s representatives confirmed his passing earlier today, announcing, “Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived. The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
Warne was legendary in cricket’s annals and was widely regarded as the game’s best spin bowler ever, referring to the various spins that can be applied to a cricket ball when thrown (“bowled”) to the batsman. The spin adds difficulty particularly when bounced in front of a batsman when bowled.
Warne’s death was shocking enough considering his relative youth, and it came just hours after he posted condolences on Twitter regarding the death of another cricket legend, Rod Marsh. Warne’s own last Twitter post read, “Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed. He was a legend of our great game & an inspiration to so many young boys & girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket & gave so much-especially to Australia & England players. Sending lots & lots of love to Ros & the family. RIP mate❤️”
888poker sponsored Warne for more than six years
As Warne’s elite career wound down, he began to appear occasionally at poker events in Australia. Years later, he explained in a World Poker Tour feature how he fell in love with the game, during the long hours he and his teammates spent on buses and airplanes and in hotel and locker rooms during his long cricket career.
In 2008, 888poker tabbed Warne to be one of the site’s first athlete/celebrity brand ambassadors, a role he held until 2015. Warne represented 888 at events around the globe, though most frequently in Australia. Warne’s HendonMob profile credits him with over $160,000 in tournament winnings, with his last cash coming in an Australian Poker Tour event in Brisbane just six weeks ago.
Tributes and condolences to the well-liked Warne rolled in from across the sporting and poker worlds as news of his passing spread. 888poker offered its own thoughts on Twitter in honor of Warne’s memory:
Featured image source: 888poker