“Devastated” Australian cricket great Ian Healy has spoken candidly about his fears Shane Warne was going to die young.
Cricket legend Ian Healy says he is not surprised Shane Warne has died young.
The Aussie wicketkeeping great, a former teammate of the magical leg-spinner, means no disrespect and has been left devastated by Warne’s sudden death of a suspected heart attack on Saturday morning.
However, Healy said he was not shocked when he first learned of the tragic news.
Healy travelled the world with the 52-year-old national icon — and witnessed first hand the hurricane he could be both on and off the field.
Warne’s battles with the scales have been a constant interest of fans even following his career.
He recently lost 14kg as part of a fasting diet, but announced this week he wanted to lose weight.
He posted four days ago that he had started “operation shred” to lose the weight he had put on since his previous health kick.
It is this yoyo dieting and his at one time commonly-known susceptibility to vices, including drinking and smoking, that left Healy fearing the “Spin King” would die young.
Healy said he was worried Warne would have been battling cancer at a young age.
“An early passing didn’t surprise me for Warnie,” Healy told The Today Show.
“He didn’t look after his body that well. He yo-yoed up and down.
“He didn’t put much sunscreen on. I thought it would have become skin issues for him over time, but not at 52. And he would have been full of beans right to the end, I bet.”
It was particularly difficult for Healy — and the entire country — with Warne’s death falling one day after cricket legend Rod Marsh died of a heart attack at the age of 74.
“If you could take two cricket people out of our sport that were the most engaged and upbeat characters we had, they are gone within the space of a week,” Healy said.
“Both men (died) way too early. We needed yarns from these two, Rod and Warnie, for at least another 20 years.”
While Healy was not surprised, Warne’s former Test captain Mark Taylor was “shocked” when first told the news about Warne.
“I really can’t believe it. You always felt that Warnie would just go on,” he said.
“He has had a turbulent life, but a very full life. But he has been through all sorts of scandals. He has 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.”
He went on to say Warne “changed the game” of cricket forever.
“When Warnie came into the scene, yes, he was a tubby sort of reddish hair guy who loved to smoke, loved a beer. I was never a smoker but I loved a beer and still do. I think that is where Warnie and I really struck up a great friendship,” Taylor said on Channel 9.
“I was lucky that I got to captain him.”
Meanwhile, former Australian cricket captain Allan Border says he “couldn’t believe it” when he heard Warne had died.
“I thought I was still dreaming, I just could not comprehend what was going on, even right now I’m expecting to wake up and it’s just a bad dream, sadly it’s not the case,” he told Sky News Australia.
“It’s just hard to believe he’s just not with us anymore.”
Warne is also being honoured around the world with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Hugh Jackman, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara all posting tributes to the spinner on social media.