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Aussie model Emily Sears has opened up on her bond with late cricket legend Shane Warne, denying they had a romantic relationship and declaring they were "just mates".
Sears took to social media to express her heartache when Warne died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand last month.
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“Woke up to the horrible news," she wrote alongside a photo of her and Warne from 2017.
"RIP Shane Warne. You were a great mate and a legendary Aussie.
“I’m in shock and heartbroken. I don’t have words right now."
The photo of Warne and Sears in Los Angeles together had sparked rumours at the time that the pair were in a romantic relationship.
Sears has repeatedly denied the rumours and has done so again in an interview with Maxim Australia.
“It’s ridiculous how they spin a couple of photos into a story," she said after gracing the cover of the magazine's latest issue.
"Our relationship wasn’t romantic. We were just mates!"
Sears paid a touching tribute to Warne after his sudden death of a suspected heart attack at age 55.
“I feel very fortunate to have got to know Shane. Our friendship was pretty typical - just two Aussies getting together in LA with some mutual friends whenever we had the chance," she added.
“He was as down to earth, fun, kind and as genuine as it gets.
“He loved life and his family. He’s gone far too soon.
“Last time we spoke we were planning to catch up when I was next in Melbourne, so it’s very sad to be here now and he’s not.
"But I do feel very blessed to have met him at all.”
In reacting to Warne's death last month, Sears also shared a text message exchange between the pair.
“Glad you’re all cool. I’m great and crushing it haha! You headed this way at all?” Warne asked Sears.
The model replied: “Yeah at some point! Hopefully in the next few months I wanna came when it’s still warm.”
Warne responded: “Yay! Make sure you hit me up when you get here! Be safe.”
Shane Warne remembered at MCG memorial service
Warne was remembered as a cricket legend, loveable larrikin and devoted dad at a state memorial at the MCG last month.
About 55,000 people flocked to the MCG for the service after the spin king's death in Thailand on March 4.
In a touching speech, Keith Warne led tributes and described his son's death as the "darkest day in our family's life".
"Mate, your mother and I can't imagine a life without you. You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken," he said.
Warne's children - Jackson, Summer and Brooke - unveiled the renamed Great Southern Stand as the Shane Warne Stand after each delivering emotional speeches of their own.
As well as cherishing the lighter moments, Brooke said her father helped her cope during difficult times.
"You told me that I could either live with these demons or fight with them and come out stronger at the end. You saved me, dad. You truly did," she said.
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