Who's Who of Australian society gather for Shane Warne funeral

Shane Warne’s father tears up and says ‘thank you’ to his cricket legend son as the state memorial service kicks off in front of 50,000 fans – as a Who’s Who join his family in paying tribute

  • Shane Warne’s ex-wife Simon Callahan and children are heading to MCG for state memorial service 
  • Son Jackson was spotted carrying two slabs of vodka mixers into the family home on Wednesday afternoon 
  • Close family and friends arrived at their Melbourne house dressed in black ahead of the celebration  
  • Warne’s children appeared dressed in black alongside mother before loading into coach waiting outside 
  • More than 50,000 people will flock to stadium to say final goodbye to cricket legend on Wednesday night

Shane Warne’s father has choked up at the state memorial service for his cricket legend son – as stars including Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman pay tribute to the King of Spin.

A Who’s Who of Australian society from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to former cricket captain Michael Clarke to singer Dannii Minogue joined more than 50,000 fans in saying goodbye to Warne, who died aged 52 during a boy’s trip on March 4. 

Close friends and family had flocked to Callahan’s Melbourne home on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the public celebration of the spin-bowler’s life at the cauldron where he took his 700th test wicket.

Warne’s children – Brooke, 24, Jackson, 22 and Summer, 20 – each emerged dressed in black and jumped into a large coach waiting outside the family house. Jackson was the spitting image of his father as he carried a slab of lemon lime vodka cruisers into the bus for funeral guests. 

Simone, wearing a black pant suit and pillbox hat, followed behind shortly afterwards, flanked her mother and dozens of friends. Several members of the Warne crew flashed St Kilda scarves, the beloved AFL team of the cricket legend.

Prominent Aussies from all corners of the country gathered at the MCG, with famous faces from Molly Meldrum to Mick Gatto, Scott Morrison to Anthony Albanese, and Allan Border to Adam Gilchrist among the big names in attendance.

Elton John performed a recorded version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me in tribute to the cricketer, while Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman paid tributes to their friend. 

Warne’s father Keith said he will remember him for his ‘unconditional love’ and said their family will never be the same without him.

‘Shane said of himself, ‘I smoked, I drank, and I played a little cricket.’ Mate, your mother and I can’t imagine a life without you,’ an emotional Keith said.

‘You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us. And for being such a loving and caring son. Rest in peace, mate. Love you, Mum and Dad.’

Jackson Warne wears a badge showing his father’s face at the memorial service on Wednesday night

Jackson and mother Simone speak to family and friends at the MCG ahead of Warne’s state service

Eddie McGuire is hosting proceedings inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday evening

Elton John pre-recorded a special performance of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ which he dedicated to Warne’s three children

Hollywood star Eric Bana provided the first voice, looking back at Warne’s famous life, describing the ‘rockstar cricketer’s’ rise to being the King of Spin.  

Warne’s father Keith gave the first euology, thanking officials for organising the event and helping bring his body home, before he revealed the family’s heartbreak at his devastating loss.

‘Our family loss of a loved son, a loving brother to Jason and a devoted father to Brooke, Jackson and Summer. And the world lost a much-loved cricketing legend whose feats on and off the cricket field will go down in history for all time,’ he said through tears.

‘Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable. We do take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more in his life of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes.’

Keith said he was a ‘special person’ who deeply cared for children, particularly sick children, and wanted to help as many as he could through his foundation.    

‘I remember I picked Shane up at Melbourne Airport when he arrived home after an extensive overseas test series. He asked me, ‘What’s been happening, Dad?’ As soon as I mentioned a little boy who had terminal canc had been hanging on, hoping to meet Shane, he had me contact the father and see if it was OK for him to pop in and say hello,’ Keith said.

‘We got the OK and went directly to the boy’s home. Shane stayed until the lad was starting to fall asleep which was a good two hours later. Then I drove Shane home to see his own children. 

‘This is who he was. This summed up Shane’s character as a man who took great responsibility in using his profile and privilege to bring good into the lives of people less fortunate than himself.’    

Hollywood star Eric Bana provided the first voice, looking back at Warne’s famous life, describing the ‘rockstar cricketer’s’ rise to being the King of Spin

Warne’s father Keith gave the first euology, thanking officials for organising the event and helping bring his body home

‘Looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable. We do take comfort in knowing that Shane packed more in his life of 52 years, five months and 19 days than most people would in two lifetimes,’ father Keith said

Warne’s father Keith speaks in front of his children, ex-wife, close friends, family and celebrities on Wednesday

Tens of thousands are in attendance at the MCG on Wednesday as the world says a final goodbye to the King of Spin

The heartfelt speech by Shane’s dad reduced many fans to tears, especially whehn the heartbroken dad stumbled himself during the touching eulogy. 

‘Keith Warne farewelling his son broke me,’ tweeted one user. ‘So the first speaker at the Shame Warne Memorial is his dad, and he has me in tears,’ added another.

Aaron Bailey added: ‘What a magnificent speech by Keith Warne. No father should have to bury his son. What immense courage and dignity.’ 

Elton John then performed a pre-recorded performance of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, with Warne’s family and friends overcome by emotion during the song.

The iconic singer dedicated it to Warne’s children, saying he wished he’d been able to perform in person.

Flying proudly around the MCG were the flags of all the cricket clubs the Spin King played for, from the East Sandringham Junior Club where it all started, to the St Kilda Cricket Club, the Melbourne Stars and Victoria.

At the other end of the hallowed MCG were the international teams he graced with his legendary skill – the Rajasthan Royals, London Spirit, Hampshire and Australia.

Warne’s former Fox Sports co-commentator Mark Howard then hosted a Q&A with a series of cricket legends – Alan Border, Mark Taylor, Brian Lara, Nasser Hussain and Merv Hughes.

The group shared stories of Warne’s larrikin nature, cheeky pranks and honest heart, with Hughes saying: ‘as good as he was on the cricket field, he was five times better off it’. 

Warne’s former Fox Sports co-commentator Mark Howard then hosted a Q&A with a series of cricket legends – Alan Border, Mark Taylor, Brian Lara, Nasser Hussain and Merv Hughes

Hugh Jackman was among the Hollywood celebrities offering messages for Warne

 Hussein revealed how Warne would torment his English sides with both his bowling and sledging, as they played a famous moment of the King of Spin taking the former England captain’s wicket during an ODI match in the early 2000s.

Howard then asked the participants what they would say to the 52-year-old if he were still there, cracking even the tough Border who spoke through tears of how Warne ‘revitalised’ his career.

Hussain thanked him for being a ‘friend’ and called him the ‘greatest bowler ever’, while Lara said he was always ‘honoured to be in your presence’.  

Jackson Warne was the spitting image of his father as he carried a slab of Vodka Cruisers into the family home on Wednesday afternoon ahead of his father’s state memorial service at the MCG

Shane Warne’s ex-wife Simone Callahan and children are pictured outside the family’s Melbourne home as they prepare to head to the MCG for the cricket legend’s state memorial service

Brooke Warne, 24, was the first to emerge from the home and board a large black coach, headed straight for the stadium 


Jackson Warne, 22, casts a spitting image of his famous father as he heads to the MCG on Wednesday afternoon

The Warne family walk to a large coach waiting outside their home ahead of the emotional service at the G

Close friends and family of the Warnes leave the family home dressed in black with St Kilda scarves ahead of the memorial

Simone leaves her home on Wednesday afternoon as she heads to the G for her ex-husband’s state service

His children – Brooke, 24, Jackson, 22 and Summer, 20 all emerged dressed in black and loaded into a large coach waiting outside the family house

Kellie Carter-Bell had a portrait of Warne tattooed on her leg last week. ‘I suffered 23 years of domestic violence and Shane Warne taught me to love myself again,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

Warne’s parents and children shed tears as the memorial started, with host Eddie McGuire introducing Sir Donald Bradman’s granddaughter to sing the national anthem.

 

 

Kellie Carter-Bell had a portrait of Warne tattooed on her leg last week. Standing beside Warne’s statue, the mother of five said Warne had given her strength to leave an abusive relationship.

‘I suffered 23 years of domestic violence and Shane Warne taught me to love myself again,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

She met the cricketer 17 years ago in a cafe in leafy Kew, when Warne provided her some life changing advice.

‘I had a chat with him and we were friends ever since,’ Ms Carter-Bell said.

‘The charisma of the man. The intelligence and not just to do with cricket. The legacy of him teaching me to love myself has made a difference in 10 lives already.’

Famous faces have started rolling into the MCG, with AFL legends Garry Lyon and Sam Newman, former cricketers David Boon, Andrew Symonds and Chris O’Donnell and music icon Molly Meldrum all in attendance.

Colourful Melbourne figure Mick Gatto, ex-footy stars Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna and ex-cricketer Darren Berry are also in attendance.

Politicians including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Labor leader Anthony Albanese, former PM John Howard and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews are among the 50,000+ packing the ground.

Music icon Molly Medlum arrives at the MCG on Wednesday evening ahead of Warne’s memorial

AFL legends Sam Newman and Garry Lyon are also in attendance at the MCG

An emotional Newman walks across the ground on Wednesday night ahead of the state memorial service

Labor leader Anthony Albanese arrives at the MCG


Cricket legends Andrew Symonds and David Boon arrive at the stadium on Wednesday ahead of the state memorial service


Former Australian captain Mark Taylor and current spin bowler Nathan Lyon arrives at the MCG on Wednesday

Former Prime Minister John Howard has flown in to Melbourne for Warne’s memorial

Dressed in a $620 Nicola Finetti dress, Versace shoes and a Bulgari handbag, reality star Arabella Del Busso was spotted entering the pub for drinks honouring Warne

Melbourne’s pubs began firing up while the sun was still high in tribute to Warne. Iconic pub Young & Jackson was brimming with Warne fans in the general bar from lunchtime.

Many would not make it the short walk along the Yarra River to the MCG to watch the memorial in person.

‘We’ll be having a beer for the great man right here,’ one punter told Daily Mail Australia. 

Entering the MCG, AFL great Garry Lyon said the atmosphere entering the ground had a completely different feeling.

‘Given what we’ve been through for two years, of course we’d much rather be doing it under different circumstances, but if this was happening a year ago we wouldn’t of had the opportunity. So it’s great and people are here for the right reasons,’ he said.

Lyon said it was fitting the memorial was held under the freshly named Shane Warne stand.

‘It’s just another standing ovation for Warney,’ Lyon said. 

A stone’s throw away, at popular MCG meeting point under Flinders Street Station, Clocks was offering $5 beers to Warney fans.

Further up Flinders Street, closer to the hallowed ground where Warne will be honoured, the Duke of Wellington was equally brimming with those sharing a beer and yarn about the great man.

Dressed in a $620 Nicola Finetti dress, Versace shoes and a Bulgari handbag, reality star Arabella Del Busso was spotted entering the pub for drinks honouring Warne.

‘He was a good friend of mine,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I knew him for at least six years. We met through the boxing world, Jeff Fenech and those boys. He was a beautiful man.’

Across the road, outside the MCG, crowds had gathered outside the members section in anticipation of the gates opening.

Streams of people continue to flow into the ground hours before the celebration is expected to commence. 

Former faster bowler Brett Lee is in attendance at the stadium for Warne’s state service

Ex-footy stars Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna are also in attendance

Newman looks emotional as he walks across the MCG to say a final goodbye to his close mate

Lyon said it was fitting the memorial was held under the freshly named Shane Warne stand. ‘It’s just another standing ovation for Warney,’ he said

Up to 100,000 people will attend the celebration of the cricket legend at the MCG on Wednesday night which will feature former teammates, celebrities and musical performances

Jackson was spotted outside the family’s Melbourne home earlier in the afternoon with vodka cruisers and -196 Suntori lemon and vodka mixers ahead of the 7pm service.

The 22-year-old was dressed in ACB cricket shorts from the early 2000s, possibly belonging to his late father. 

Jackson said there was ‘no better place in the whole world’ to say goodbye to his father than the place where the King of Spin took his 700th test wicket. 

‘It’s very special for a lot of us, especially our family,’ he said.

‘We’ve been lucky enough to come here (to the MCG) our whole lives and watch him play and put lots of hard work in on this very ground.

‘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.’   

His mother Simone Callahan also made an appearance on Wednesday afternoon, parading the family’s Insta-famous dog, Mason, in front of the cameras as she took out the bins.  

Shane Warne’s son Jackson arrived back to the family home with slabs of pre-mixed drinks ahead of his father’s state memorial service

Jackson was spotted outside the family’s Melbourne home on Wednesday afternoon with Vodka Cruisers and -196 Hard Lemon and Vodka mixers ahead of the 7pm service

Tens of thousands of Shane Warne fans are streaming into the MCG ahead of the service

The MCG is preparing for matchday-like scenes as a full crowd heads in for the state memorial service on Wednesday afternoon

Jackson Warne climbs into a coach with ‘RIP Shane Warne’ emblazoned on the side as the family head to the MCG

Warne’s close friend Sam Newman pictured at the MCG as he prepares to say a final goodbye to the King of Spin

Mick Gatto arrives at the MCG on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the state memorial service

Outside the MCG, crowds had gathered outside the members section in anticipation of the gates opening.

Fans leave Warne’s favourite beer and foods on his statue outside the MCG ahead of the state memorial service for the cricket legend

It’s expected Warne’s three children will sit in the newly-named 45,000-seat Shane Warne Stand – replacing the Great Southern Stand. 

Jackson told Jam TV – owned by family friend Eddie McGuire – the MCG is the perfect place to farewell his father because he had so many great moments on the ground. 

‘I think there’s no other better place in the whole world for Melburnians, Victorians, Australians and people from around the world that loved him as a cricketer and a mate – to come and say goodbye,’ he said.

‘He’s got a statue out the front, and to have a grandstand named after him now is just unbelievable.

‘As sad as it is for all of us, to come and sit down at this ground for the rest of our lives and be able to say we’re sitting in Dad’s stand forever is pretty special, and I couldn’t think of a better place around the world to have a send-off for him because this is what he deserves.

‘I think Dad always loved a crowd, he always loved putting on a performance.’ 

Simone Callahan looked heartbroken on Wednesday morning as she stepped out in Melbourne to run some errands

Warne’s family (left to right: Brooke, Jackson, Simone Callahan, and Summer) visited the MCG’s statue of Warne earlier this month. Warne’s memorial will be held there on Wednesday night at 7pm following the legend’s death at age 52 in Thailand on March 4

Eddie McGuire, who will MC the event as he did Warne’s private funeral, confirmed his immediately family will break their public silence at the event on Wednesday night.

‘The family and children haven’t spoken in public, they will tonight. The outpouring of emotion is going to be quite significant,’ he said.

‘Chris Martin has written a piece called the Eulogy, then there’s Elton and Ed Sheeran. Let’s not kid ourselves, this was the world champion of scallywag.

‘Somebody described it as Glastonbury meets the biggest sports night ever. Warnie sprinkled his gold dust everywhere.’ 

Don Bradman’s granddaughter Greta Bradman has been confirmed as singing the national anthem as the families of Australia’s two greatest ever players come together.

Eddie McGuire, who will MC the event as he did Warne’s private funeral, confirmed his immediately family will break their public silence at the event on Wednesday night

McGuire said the event would be Australia’s biggest broadcast event with star-studded tributes but would remain true to Warne’s character.

‘He was somebody who gave all of himself in so many ways … he was a scallywag,’ McGuire told reporters on Tuesday. 

‘There’ll be tears tomorrow night, there’ll be a lot of laughs as well, and a lot of reminiscing, and that’s what’s going to make this a special night.

Australian test captain Pat Cummins read an emotional poem for his ‘idol’ on Wednesday morning, sharing the words written by journalist Adam Burnett. 

‘He was just a bloke – extraordinary – but fallible and flawed,’ Cummins read.

‘It meant he felt like one of us, made him all the more adored

‘Which is why he’s left us grappling, left the cricket world defeated,

‘From Launceston to the Long Room, we’ve all been left depleted

‘But flip that thought and think instead how enriched we are by Warne,

‘Let’s salute a pure entertainer – the greatest bowler ever born.’   

McGuire said Warne’s three children Brooke, 24, Jackson and Summer Warne, 20, as well as his father Keith Warne, would all speak his service

‘Elton John, Chris Martin, Robbie Williams, and Ed Sheeran will be singing dedicated songs to Shane Warne in his memory.

‘I mean, this is something when you look at it from a concert point of view, that is almost unprecedented here in Australia.’  

McGuire said Warne’s three children Brooke, 24, Jackson and Summer Warne, 20, as well as his father Keith Warne, would all speak his service.  

On Tuesday an additional 15,000 tickets were released for the event, adding to the already 50,000 reserved seats. 

All major free-to-air channels and Foxtel will broadcast the memorial across Australia from 7pm.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom will receive a livestream of the event. 

The MCG gates are set to open at 5.30pm and guests must be seated by 6.45pm for a 7pm start. 

It will be an alcohol-free event.    

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