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Shane Warne’s coffin has been draped in an Australian flag as the legendary cricketer begins his final voyage home from Thailand.
Thai police were seen loading the 52-year-old sportsman’s casket into the back of a waiting ambulance on Thursday morning, ahead of an expected nine-hour flight by private jet from Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.
Warne is reportedly being ferried home to Melbourne on a plane owned by one of millionaire Australian businessman Terry Peabody’s charter jets. Peabody, a former billionaire, is a prominent wine and waste management entrepreneur.
The private plane is expected to land at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at about 8pm on Thursday night.
Warne’s homecoming comes after an autopsy earlier this week confirmed the cricketer had died of a heart attack on the Island of Koh Samui last Friday.
Warnes’ close friends and family are expected to hold a private ceremony to farewell the sporting legend from as early as next week.
A state funeral for the sporting icon will be held on March 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with as many of Warne’s fans as possible to be allowed to attend.
Moving images of Shane Warne’s coffin draped with an Australian flag (pictured) have come as the legendary cricketer begins his final voyage home
A private jet carrying the coffin of the legendary cricketer has officially departed Don Mueang Airport and is scheduled to land in Melbourne at about 8pm on Thursday
CCTV captured Warne casually strolling through the villa holding several shirts after a visit to his favourite tailor just hours before he died of a shock heart attack
Shane Warne’s final steps were captured on CCTV in the luxury Sumujana Villas at about 1:30pm on Friday – just hours before he died of a sudden heart attack.
The legendary cricketer was seen holding several shirts following a visit to his favourite tailor in the Thai island town of Koh Samui.
Casually dressed in shorts, wearing a cap and holding his phone, Warne appeared at ease as he made his way through the foyer and back to his room for a relaxing massage and to watch the cricket from Pakistan.
The legendary cricketer’s body will be returned to his family in Melbourne on Thursday (pictured, Warne in Koh Samui)
‘There’s nowhere in the world more appropriate to farewell Warnie than the ‘G,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters earlier this week.
‘There will be no limits on crowds and that sort of stuff. ‘It will be a very big event, it will be a celebration of his life as it should be.’
The state memorial will be ticketed and live-streamed for those who can’t attend, with tickets to be made available to the public soon.
Meanwhile, the spin king’s former doctor Dr. Peter Brukner has broken his silence on what he believes caused the 52-year-old’s shock death, blaming his lifestyle.
He told Perth radio hosts Basil Zempilas and Xavier Ellis that his death was hastened by a combination of a longstanding smoking habit, poor diet and other factors.
‘Warney, if he had heart disease, which sounds like he did, you know, that didn’t happen overnight in Thailand,’ he told Triple M Breakfast on Wednesday.
‘It’s been happening for 20, 30 years from smoking, poor diet, etc, etc.’
Warne was a habitual smoker throughout his adult life, and a drinker – though he was known to not be fond of beer.
Warne was once reportedly paid $200,000 to kick the habit.
The homecoming comes after an autopsy earlier this week confirmed the cricketer had died of a heart attack on the Island of Koh Samui last Friday
A state funeral to pay tribute to the cricketer will be held on March 3 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, (pictured) with as many fans as possible allowed to attend
Dr. Peter Brukner (pictured) has blamed the 52-year-old’s shock death on his lifestyle – a combination of poor diet and a longstanding smoking habit
Warnes’ close friends and family are expected to hold a private ceremony to farewell the sporting legend from as early as next week (pictured, Warne with his three children)
Dr Brukner said the earlier someone notices their poor lifestyle habits ‘the better’.
He then listed the ways to mitigate the likelihood of heart disease, including ‘good diet, regular exercise, reduced stress, good quality sleep, exposure to sun’.
The doctor implored those in their middle age to find a GP that they’re ‘comfortable talking to’ and to get a check-up and blood test annually.
‘Once a year [for a checkup] from the age of 35, 40 onwards,’ he said.
‘The issue with these things is you don’t develop heart disease in a minute. It’s a very gradual process.’
Despite the contributory lifestyle factors that led to Warne’s fatal heart attack, Dr Brukner was still shocked by his death.
‘Just unbelievable,’ Brukner began when asked about the cricketer’s passing. ‘None of us can really believe it, can we? He was a larger than life character.’
Warne (pictured in January 2020) was a habitual smoker throughout his adult life, and a drinker – though he was known to not be fond of beer
Fans have left tributes of VB cans, letters, cricket balls and even a jar of vegemite at the foot of the Shane Warne statue outside the MCG
Thai Police (pictured picking up the autopsy result of Australian cricketer Shane Warne) has confirmed the cricketer died of natural causes
The cricket legend was on a ‘boys trip’ at the luxury Samujana Villa resort in Koh Samui when he was found unresponsive in his room about 5pm local time.
It’s understood no diet medications or heart drugs were found in Warne’s hotel room at the time of his death.
Earlier pictures from the initial investigation revealed several blood spatters in the room around Warne’s bed.
Local police say the blood was due to lengthy and desperate CPR efforts, performed first by one of Warne’s mates and later by first responders.
The paramedic who first arrived on the scene described the sheer chaos as he tried to save Warne’s life with friends shouting ‘come on, Shane’ in the background.
Anuch Han-Iam said Warne’s frantic friends were already performing CPR when they arrived at the villa.
‘They were trying to bring him back to life… they were desperate. I think one was crying. Really stressed and panicked,’ he said earlier this week.
Warne (pictured with his son Jackson and daughters Summer and Brooke) had been suffering heart troubles in the weeks leading up to his death
Police say the blood spatters in the room around Warne’s bed was due to lengthy and desperate CPR efforts, performed first by one of Warne’s mates and later by first responders
Warne (pictured in 2017) had completed a 14-day liquid only diet before the trip, described by his manager James Erskine as ‘extreme’ and ‘ridiculous’
Countless fans have left tributes of flowers, cricket balls, VB cans and heartfelt letters at the base of the Shane Warne statue outside the MCG
His family reported he had been having heart troubles in the weeks leading up to his death, while it has also been noted he suffered from asthma.
Warne previously mentioned he had tried ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ to lose a few kilos with his family confirming he would complete ’30-day fasting tea diets’ as he his weight fluctuated throughout his career.
Warne had also completed a 14-day liquid only diet, described by his manager James Erskine as ‘extreme’ and ‘ridiculous’.
‘It was a bit all or nothing. It was either white buns with butter and lasagne stuffed in the middle, or he would be having black and green juices,’ he said.
‘He obviously smoked most of his life [but] I don’t know, I think it was just a massive heart attack. That’s what I think has happened.’
The 52-year-old was determined to get back to his peak fitness levels and had set a goal of July 2022 to shed some stubborn kilos.
A health expert has since cautioned against such extreme diets, warning they can increase the risk of heart attacks for those with cardiac issues.
His family reported the cricketer (pictured) had been having heart troubles in the weeks leading up to his death, while it has also been noted he suffered from asthma
The 52-year-old (pictured in 2019) was determined to get back to his peak fitness levels and had set a goal of July 2022 to shed some kilos before he died of a heart attack last week
The Heart Foundation’s chief medical advisor Professor Garry Jennings said there was a risk the heart could be put under extra strain by very low calorie diets.
‘Mostly, these risks are on top of an underlying heart problem, they don’t come out of the blue. I doubt they could cause a heart problem just by themselves,’ Professor Jennings told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Basically, if your metabolism, your handling of fluids, salt and other electrolytes gets completely out of whack, if you have a small heart attack, you’re more likely for that to turn into something serious with a rhythm disorder.’
It comes as one of Warne’s close friends – Sporting News chief executive Tom Hall who went on holiday to Thailand with the cricketing great – revealed Warne enjoyed a very Australian last meal, wolfing down Vegemite toast after completing his extreme diet just days earlier.
The spin bowler’s final day included receiving a massage from two local masseuses at his villa and ordering a new tailored suit, according to Koh Samui police.