“Genius” Shane Warne bids farewell at State Memorial Service

Shane Warne was remembered as “mesmerising” and a “genius” at a state memorial service in Melbourne on Wednesday attended by tens of thousands of spectators and legendary players, with music superstars Elton John and Chris Martin performing by video link. The beloved Australian cricketer died at a luxury resort in Thailand this month from a suspected heart attack, aged 52, eliciting shock and grief from his millions of fans as well as prime ministers, rock stars and fellow players.

The larger-than-life “king of spin” was honoured at a two-hour service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with more than 50,000 free tickets handed out. It was beamed live to cricket grounds across Australia and was watched across the world.

“Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable,” said his heartbroken father Keith after batting great Donald Bradman’s granddaughter Greta sang the national anthem to start the proceedings.

“But we take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more into his life 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 whole 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 taking his 700th Test wicket.