Warne, who is regarded as one of the greatest players in cricket history, died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand.

Shane Warne is credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, and helped Australia win the World Cup in 1999.
Shane Warne is credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, and helped Australia win the World Cup in 1999. (AP)

Australian cricket great Shane Warne, widely regarded as the greatest leg-spinner of all time, has died aged 52.

Warne died in Koh Samui, Thailand, of a suspected heart attack, according to a statement issued by his management company on Friday.

"Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived," the statement said. 

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

Police said Warne's body had been transferred to hospital for autopsy and his associates would be questioned by police on Saturday, but added there were no signs of foul play.

Stellar career

During a 15-year career from 1992 to 2007, he took 708 Test wickets — a tally surpassed only by Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 800.

Named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, alongside Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs and Viv Richards, Warne also took 293 wickets in 194 one-day internationals.

Warne is credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, and helped Australia win the World Cup in 1999. He was part of five Ashes-winning teams.

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

But on the eve of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, he failed a drugs test after taking diuretics in a bid to lose weight and was sent home before Australian authorities banned him for a year.

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'Shocked to the core'

Warne played in the Indian Premier League and other Twenty20 competitions before retiring from international cricket in 2013, but continued to be involved in the game as a broadcaster.

The cricket world united in grief to pay tributes to Warne.

"Unbelievable. I am shocked to the core. This can't be true... There are no words to describe what I feel right now. A huge loss for cricket," West Indian legend Richards said.

The news comes just hours after the death was announced of fellow Australian great Rod Marsh, one of the game's outstanding wicketkeepers.

Warne's last post on Twitter, 12 hours before his death was reported, was a tribute to Marsh.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies