Shane Warne in historic announcement nine months after tragic death

Shane Warne, pictured here before a BBL game in Melbourne in 2020.
Shane Warne looks on before a BBL game in Melbourne in 2020. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Shane Warne has been elevated the 'legend' status in the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame, becoming just the fifth cricketer in history to be bestowed the honour. The Aussie cricket icon died at age 52 in March after a heart attack while on holidays in Thailand.

On Sunday - nine months to the day since the devastating tragedy - Warne was made a legend in the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame. He joins Sir Donald Bradman, Keith Miller, Richie Benaud and Dennis Lillee as the only cricketers to be recognised with the prestigious honour.

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Warne joined the Hall Of Fame in 2009 and became eligible for legend status this year - 15 years after his retirement from Test cricket. The Victorian revolutionised leg-spin bowling and was Test cricket's leading wicket-taker (with 708) until Sri Lankan superstar Muttiah Muralitharan passed him.

Warne's delivery to bowl Mike Gatting in the first Test of the Ashes series in 1993 - his first delivery in England and known as the ball of the century - heralded his arrival as a superstar of the game and will live long in cricket folklore.

Shane Warne, pictured here in action during the Ashes series in1997.
Shane Warne in action during the Ashes series in1997. (Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images).

Warne was named alongside Bradman, Viv Richards, Jack Hobbs and Garfield Sobers as Wisden's top cricketers of the 20th century. He was the only one of the five not to be knighted, and he also never captained the Test team.

His tragic death came just one day after fellow Aussie great Rod Marsh also died of a heart attack. The tragedy rocked the sporting world and the Victorian was honoured with a state memorial service at the MCG, where the Great Southern Stand was renamed in his honour.

Also named a 'legend' on Sunday was track and field great Ron Clarke, who broke 17 world records over a number of distances. In a 44-day tour of Europe in 1965, Clarke set 12 of those world marks.

His best result at the Olympics was bronze in the 10,000m in 1964 and he won four Commonwealth Games silver medals. Clarke nearly died at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 when he collapsed from altitude sickness after finishing sixth in the 10,000m. A few days later he recovered sufficiently enough to compete in the 5000m heats, but suffered permanent heart damage as a result.

Clarke was part of an iconic moment in Australian sporting history in 1956 when John Landy stopped to help him after he'd fallen during the Australian mile championship. He went on to become mayor of the Gold Coast from 2004-12 before he died after a short illness in 2015 at 78.

Cricket fans react to news about Shane Warne

"Shane Warne and Ron Clarke are the true definition of Legends. Inspirations to all Australians," Sport Australia Hall of Fame chair John Bertrand said on Sunday night. "We are thrilled to announce their well-deserved elevation to Legend status within the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. They symbolise everything that is great about sport in Australia."

Warne and Clarke were announced as legends ahead of a TV special to be aired on Thursday night, when the Hall Of Fame annual Don and Dawn awards will be announced. This year's nine Hall Of Fame inductees were announced in October.

Fans flocked to social media to celebrate the news on Sunday night. However many couldn't help but express their sadness that he isn't with us.

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with AAP

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