BANGKOK (AP) — The body of Australian cricket great Shane Warne has started its final journey home.
Just before dawn on Thursday, his coffin — draped in an Australian flag — was put into an ambulance at the Thai Police Forensic Institute and driven to an international airport. Local media said a private jet was expected to fly Warne’s body back to his hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
Warne, widely regarded as one of the best bowlers of all time, died last Friday while holidaying with friends on Samui Island in the south of Thailand. An autopsy report said the 52-year-old Warne died of a suspected heart attack.
The Victoria state government is planning to host a state memorial service for Warne on March 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, home to many of Warne’s greatest sports moments, after the family holds a private funeral.
“There’s nowhere in the world more appropriate to farewell Warnie than the ’G,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews posted Wednesday on social media.
The MCG was the stage of Warne’s famous Ashes hat trick in 1994 and his 700th test wicket on Boxing Day in 2006 during his final series before retiring from international cricket. He was born and raised in Melbourne.
Warne’s family issued a statement late Monday describing the night of his death on March 4 as the beginning of “a never-ending nightmare.”