Warne was watching cricket, had not been drinking: Manager

Details emerging about Shane Warne’s death due to a suspected heart-attack on Friday reveal that he was watching cricket before a scheduled meeting with friends for dinner when he suffered the attack.

A report in Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday said that the legendary spinner’s business manager perform CPR for about 20 minutes to save him.

“The 52-year-old’s long-time manager told the Herald and The Age (that) Warne had not been drinking before he was found by his friend Andrew Neophitou, an executive producer on his recently released documentary, who had gone to Warne’s Thailand hotel room before a planned dinner,” the report said.

The reports added that Warne was found unconscious “with the historic first Test between Australia and Pakistan playing on the television”. It said the legendary spinner was holidaying at a resort in Koh Samui, Thailand “as part of a rare extended holiday” and was scheduled to travel to the UK on his commentating assignment.

“They were meant to meet some people at 5pm. Neo (Neophitou) was next door, he’s always on time,” Warne’s long-time manager James Erskine said.

“He realised he wasn’t well. He tried to give mouth-to-mouth, tried to resuscitate him, he had no heartbeat, the ambulance came 20 minutes later and an hour and a bit later he was pronounced dead (at the Thai International Hospital).”

According to Erskine, Warne was off drinks as he’d been dieting.

“He was on holiday, having a lie down, siesta, he hadn’t been drinking, he’d been on this diet to lose weight,” he said.

“He didn’t drink much. Everyone thinks he’s a big boozer but he’s not a big boozer at all. I sent him a crate of wine, 10 years later it’s still there. He doesn’t drink, never took drugs, ever. He hated drugs so nothing untoward,” added Erskine.

“He was going to do the things he likes doing. He was going to play in one or two poker competitions, play a lot of golf, be with his kids; that was about it; (to) have time to himself.”

Erskine said Warne’s children Brooke, Summer and Jackson were “shattered” and the spinner’s father, Keith, had visited his grandchildren on Saturday to “comfort them”.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison led his country’s tribute to the cricketing legend, saying Warne was “one of only a few that could approach the extraordinary achievements of the great Don Bradman”.

“But Shane was more than this to Australians. Shane was one of our nation’s greatest characters. His humour, his passion, his irreverence, his approachability ensured he was loved by all. Australians loved him. We all did,” Morrison said.

The Victorian government has announced that the MCG’s Great Southern Stand would be renamed the S.K. Warne Stand in memory of the leg-spinner. Warne notched his 700th Test wicket at the MCG.

“The S.K. Warne Stand will be a permanent tribute to an amazing Victorian,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted.

Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy was shattered by the death but “unsurprised” his former teammate died young.

“An early passing didn’t surprise me for Warnie,” Healy told Nine’s Today show. “He didn’t look after his body that well. He yo-yoed up and down (weight gain).

“He didn’t put much sunscreen on. I thought it would have become skin issues for him over time, but not at 52. And he would have been full of beans right to the end, I bet.”

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