Actor Elizabeth Hurley paid tribute to her former fiance and “beloved Lionheart”, Shane Warne, as fresh details of the Australian cricket star’s sudden death in Thailand emerged.
Hurley, who was engaged to Warne for more than two years until they split in December 2013, said that “the sun has gone behind a cloud forever”.
Among other celebrities to pay tribute to Warne were musicians Elton John, Mick Jagger and Ed Sheeran, who revealed he spoke to his “amazing friend” just days before he died.
Meanwhile, Thai police revealed that Warne had complained of chest pains in Australia before his trip to Thailand, saying the champion leg-spinner had a “record of heart symptoms”.
The 52-year-old is believed to have died of a heart attack on Friday while on holiday in Koh Samui. Police superintendent Yuthana Sirisombat suggested that, after an autopsy, Warne’s body would be flown back to Australia, where prime minister Scott Morrison has offered a state funeral to the cricketer’s family.
In Thailand police continued to piece together Warne’s final hours, with officers categorically ruling out drugs or “foul play” in relation to his death at the start of a three-month lay-off after covering the Ashes series for Fox Sports.
Sirisombat said a masseur had visited Warne at the resort “but his condition was normal at that time so it’s not relevant.” Police are still waiting for CCTV footage to confirm Warne’s final movements, who was on a week-long holiday with three friends at the Samujana Villas resort.
Warne had retired to his room on Friday afternoon to watch coverage of the Australia-Pakistan test, with plans for drinks and dinner at 5pm. When he failed to appear, his friends had knocked on Warne’s door at 5.15pm and found him unresponsive.
Warne’s business manager, Andrew Neophitou, was attempting CPR when medics arrived. Phet Boonrak, chief of the local rescue team, said: “When we got there, the person was unconscious and had a weak pulse, so we tried to do CPR and call the ambulance.
“His friends were so shocked, they said they found him unconscious. Once the ambulance arrived they took him to the hospital immediately.”
Chatchawin Nakmusik, of Bo Phut Police on Koh Samui, said: “The villa manager took me to check at the scene. There are several rooms in that villa. His friends told me that Shane was sleeping in his bedroom in the afternoon. Later on, when they wanted to have dinner, they went to call him but he already passed out. They informed the villa management and called the ambulance. They tried to do CPR but Shane was already dead.”
Four days ago on Instagram, Warne shared his plan to lose weight and get back to his peak physical condition, telling his 1.3 million followers: “Operation shred has started (10 days in) & the goal by July is to get back to this shape from a few years ago! Let’s go.”
Among the many tributes to Warne included one from the Barmy Army, England’s supporters club, who described the Australian as a “complete genius” and “one of the game’s greatest characters” who is “forever etched in Ashes history”.
The England cricket team posted on Twitter: “One of the greatest of all-time. A legend. A genius. You changed Cricket. RIP Shane Warne”.
The former India captain, Sachin Tendulkar, said he was “shocked and stunned” by the news. “There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on field duels and off-field banter. You always had a special place for India and Indians had a special place for you. Gone too young!”