Thai autopsy shows Shane Warne died of natural causes

Koh Samui

An autopsy showed the death last week of Australian cricket great Shane Warne on an island in Thailand was due to natural causes, the Thai police said on Monday.

Warne’s family had accepted the finding and his body would be transferred to Australian consular officials for return to the family, a deputy police spokesman said.

“Today investigators received the autopsy result, in which the medical opinion is that the cause of death is natural,” Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a statement.

“Investigators will summarise the autopsy result for prosecutors within the timeframe of the law.”

Warne’s body would be flown to Australia on Tuesday, Police Lieutenant General Surachate Hak-parn told a news conference.

The senior police official ruled out any foul play and said Warne died due to a suspected heart attack.

The autopsy report showed Warne died of a “congenital disease”, Songyot Chayaninporamet, deputy director of Samui Hospital, told a news con-ference. “There is no COVID-19 infection and no sign of assault or murder,” Songyot added.

Allan McKinnon, Australia’s ambassador to Thailand, who has been on Koh Samui since the day after Warne’s death, thanked authorities for their professionalism.

“It was very important that this whole case be conducted very smoothly,” he said. Well-wishers left tributes of flowers, flags, an Australian sports shirt, a can of beans and a packet of cigarettes outside the villa on the northeast coast of Koh Samui where Warne was found unconscious.

Warne, 52, one of the finest spin bowlers of all time, whose talent and personality transcended the sport, died on Friday, spurring tributes, with Austra-lian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling him “one of our nation’s greatest characters”.

Tom Hall, who was staying at the same resort where Warne was found unconscious in his room, said there were “no unusual circumstances” sur-rounding the flamboyant former cricketer’s death.

Hall, chief executive of website the Sporting News, said none of Warne’s travelling companions were aware of him visiting a doctor, though he had complained to a friend of “some chest pains and shortness of breath”.

Earlier, Thai police said Warne also had asthma and some heart issues, citing information from his family.

Australian media said Warne’s family funeral would be followed by a memorial service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) within two or three weeks.

The Great Southern Stand at the MCG, where the spinner took his 700th wicket on Boxing Day 2006, will be renamed the S K Warne Stand.—AFP

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