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Fans, family, famous to bid Shane Warne farewell at state memorial


Australian cricketing great Shane Warne will be farewelled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Shane Warne’s son said there is no better place to bid farewell to his late father than the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where more than 50,000 people are to attend a state memorial service Wednesday featuring stars such as Elton John and Ed Sheeran.

The legendary cricketer died at a luxury resort in Thailand this month from a suspected heart attack, aged 52, eliciting shock and grief around the world from his millions of fans as well as prime ministers, rock stars and fellow players.

More than 50,000 free tickets have been snapped up for the two-hour service, which is due to start at 7:00pm (0800 GMT) after a minute’s silence.

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“It’s very special for a lot of us, especially our family,” he told Australian media.

“Dad always loved a crowd, putting on a performance … I think, sad day as it is, with more people here it won’t be as sad,” he added.

“This is going to be one of the great events in the history of the city in this country in many ways, a tribute to a champion,” said television presenter, former Australian Rules football player and friend of Warne Eddie McGuire, who will host the event.

– Very fortunate –

“It’s what he would’ve wanted, to make sure everybody who can be involved is involved and we’ve been very fortunate to have a state funeral to allow us to do that,” he said.

Cricketing greats such as Brian Lara, Ian Botham and Wasim Akram will be among an array of sports stars joining the service, he added.

Credited with reviving the art of leg-spin, Warne took 708 Test wickets as part of a dominant Australian team in the 1990s and 2000s before becoming a respected commentator.

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