Shane Warne's Australian team-mate makes shock admission: 'His early passing didn't surprise me'

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A former Australian teammate and close friend of Shane Warne has surprisingly declared he wasn’t shocked by the death of the nation’s greatest ever leg-spinner aged just 52.

Wicketkeeper Ian Healy, who was a constant behind the stumps for the early part of Warne’s test career, told The Today Show news of the spin-king’s passing ‘didn’t surprise me.’

Famed cricketer Warne was pronounced dead on arrival at the Thai International Hospital overnight after suffering a heart attack in news which has rocked the sporting world.

‘He didn’t look after his body that well. He yo-yoed up and down. He didn’t put much sunscreen on,’ Healy said.

‘I thought it would have become skin issues for him over time, but not 52. And he would have been full of beans right to the end, I bet.’

Ian Healy, a former Australian teammate and close friend of Shane Warne, has surprisingly declared he 'wasn't shocked' by the death of the nation's greatest ever leg-spinner aged just 52

Ian Healy, a former Australian teammate and close friend of Shane Warne, has surprisingly declared he ‘wasn’t shocked’ by the death of the nation’s greatest ever leg-spinner aged just 52

Famed cricketer Shane Warne was pronounced dead on arrival at the Thai International Hospital overnight after suffering a heart attack in news which has rocked the sporting world

Famed cricketer Shane Warne was pronounced dead on arrival at the Thai International Hospital overnight after suffering a heart attack in news which has rocked the sporting world 

Shane Warne and Ian Healy celebrating victory over England in the Fifth Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge in 1997

Shane Warne and Ian Healy celebrating victory over England in the Fifth Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge in 1997

Healy, who also worked alongside Warne in commentary for Channel 9, revealed the respect the man affectionately known as ‘King’ had for fellow spinner and commentary legend Richie Benaud.

‘Shane used to communicate with Richie Benaud regularly when he was a young player… he used to pick the brains of Richie… no-one before him did that,’ he recalled.

‘Then it was Ian Chappell. I remember one day we were warming up and Warnie was talking to Ian, who was getting ready to do the toss or the pitch report.  

‘He would ask for their perspective or how to approach a game day scenario… Shane always wanted to improve.’ 

In a gripping interview, Healy went onto recall Warne ‘didn’t believe’ in coaching for national teams he was a key figure in – but happily passed on his wisdom to eager cricketers of all ages around the world. 

He also stated Warne’s greatest asset was his accuracy and in Healy’s mind is the best bowler the game has ever seen. 

‘That’s why he was so good… and different,’ Healy said. ‘From a young age he was an old man.’

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor, who bonded with Warne in their playing days over their shared love of beer, said the father of three revitalised the sport.

‘Warnie is one of the few people in any sport who gets to change the game and that’s what he did,’ Taylor said. 

‘He gave Australia a point of difference and showed the world the subtleties of the game of Test cricket. I was so privileged to have that at my disposal as captain.’

Taylor also stated Warne was virtually invincible.

‘You always felt that Warnie would just go on,’ he told Wide World of Sports.

 ‘He has had a turbulent life but a very full life. He had been through all sorts of scandals. 

Australian cricket is in mourning after the deaths of Rod Marsh and Shane Warne (pictured) the past two days

Australian cricket is in mourning after the deaths of Rod Marsh and Shane Warne (pictured) the past two days 

After retiring from the sport, Warne successfully moved into commentary with Channel 9 and later Fox Sports where he didn't pack any punches

After retiring from the sport, Warne successfully moved into commentary with Channel 9 and later Fox Sports where he didn’t pack any punches

The father of three was also once engaged to actress Liz Hurley (pictured left at the Ascot races in the UK)

The father of three was also once engaged to actress Liz Hurley (pictured left at the Ascot races in the UK)

‘He mesmerised us with his bowling and his competitive nature on the field.

‘We have loved that real ocker side of Shane Warne. You just felt, I certainly did, he would go on forever. ‘It is a huge shock for me.’

Steve Waugh, who took over from Mark Taylor as Australia’s Test captain in 1999, also paid tribute to Warne on social media on Saturday.

‘So many incredible memories and moments that will never be forgotten – it was a privilege and a pleasure to play alongside you,’ he posted on Facebook.

‘My thoughts and condolences are with the Warne family. Rest in Peace Warnie.’ 

In news which has rocked the sport, Warne, 52, has died after a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui (pictured, with son Jackson)

In news which has rocked the sport, Warne, 52, has died after a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui (pictured, with son Jackson)

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne was looking to 'get shredded' just days before his sudden death in Thailand

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne was looking to ‘get shredded’ just days before his sudden death in Thailand 

Australian captain Pat Cummins also delivered a moving video tribute to his childhood sporting hero.

‘We are all numbed by the news. Shane was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time, but apart from the wickets he took and the games he helped Australia win, what he did was draw so many people to the sport,’ he said.

‘So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result, while many of our support staff either played with him or against him.

‘It has been a terrible couple of days for Australian cricket with the passing of Rod Marsh and now Shane. Our thoughts are with both families and, in Shane’s case, particularly with his parents Keith and Bridgette, his brother Jason and his children Jackson, Summer and Brooke.

‘The game of cricket was never the same after Shane emerged, and it will never be the same now he has gone. Rest in peace King.’

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