Australia’s Shane Warne, one of the all-time great cricketers, died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 52 on Friday, according to a report by Fox Cricket.

“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday 4 March,” the statement read.

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“Shane was found unresponsive in his Villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” it added.

“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”

The announcement came just hours after the death was announced of fellow Australian great Rod Marsh, one of cricket’s outstanding wicketkeepers.

Warne is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket. He played 145 Tests and 194 One-Day Internationals and took 708 and 293 wickets respectively in the two formats.

Shane Warne's career bowling record

Format Mat Inns Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR 5-fors
Test 145 273 708 8/71 25.41 2.65 57.4 37
ODI 194 191 293 5/33 25.73 4.25 36.3 1

Reactions came in from a stunned cricketing community.

On Saturday morning, Warne’s Twitter handle had a message reacting to the death of former Australian wicketkeeper Rodney Marsh.

Named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, alongside Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs and Viv Richards, Warne’s impact was enormous.

The bowler became as well known for a colourful life away from cricket as he was for his exploits on the field.

Both he and Australia team-mate Mark Waugh were fined for accepting money from a bookmaker and Warne was suspended for 12 months after failing a drugs test on the eve of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, having taken a diuretic.

But as a cricketer, his legacy and impact on spin-bowling is undeniable. The first bowler to take 700 Test wickets with an assortment of leg-breaks, googlies, flippers and his own “zooters”, Warne retired from Australia duty following a 5-0 series win at home to arch-rivals England during the 2006/07 Ashes,

In addition to his international exploits, Warne also enjoyed a successful career with his Australian state side Victoria.

And while he never got to lead Australia in Test cricket for all his acknowledged tactical acumen, Warne did skipper English county Hampshire, where he helped nurture gifted England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

Warne continued to star on the Twenty20 franchise circuit, starring for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and his home town Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League before retiring from playing altogether.

He subsequently became a television commentator and pundit, known for his forthright opinions, and also did some team coaching and worked individually with current-day leg-spinners.

Warne was divorced from wife Simone, with whom he had three children. He also had high-profile relationship with British actress Liz Hurley.

(With AFP inputs)