Michael Clarke's tribute to 'best mate' after devastating loss of grandfather

The Aussie cricket great has been rocked by more sad news amid a tumultuous time.

Michael Clarke, pictured here with his grandfather and father.
Michael Clarke has paid tribute to his grandfather Ray, one of his biggest supporters. Image: Getty/Instagram

Aussie cricket great Michael Clarke has been left devastated after the death of his grandfather and 'best mate' Ray. The former Test captain took to social media on Monday to pay tribute to his grandfather, posting a photo from his funeral.

“Never gets any easier,” Clarke wrote. “In losing my Grandfather, I lost a best mate. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so much love on an extremely tough day. RIP Pop.”

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The news sparked on outpouring of support for Clarke on social media. Former teammate Damien Martyn posted two love heart emojis, while TV host Larry Emdur wrote: "Sorry to hear that news mate. Wishing you and the family all the best."

Indian cricketer Suresh Raina also sent his well-wishes, while businesswoman Erina Peters commented: “I’m so sorry Michael! He truly loved you so much. I have so many funny memories with him over the years and he was never short of a cheeky comeback.”

Michael Clarke, pictured here with grandfather Ray, mother Debbie, father Les and grandmother June in India in 2004.
Michael Clarke with (L-R) grandfather Ray, mother Debbie, father Les and grandmother June in India in 2004. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Sports presenter and wife of cricketer Ben Cutting, Erin Holland wrote: "Thinking of you" with a love heart emoji. Swimming champion Grant Hackett also sent his condolences, as did model Laura Csortan.

Clarke's grandfather Ray was one of his biggest supporters and travelled to India to watch him make his remarkable debut in 2004. Clarke scored 151 in one of the finest knocks from an Australian on debut, with Ray watching on proudly from the stands.

Clarke previously said the hardest part about retiring from professional cricket was the fact he had to break the news to Ray. “Definitely telling my grandfather was perhaps the hardest part and he was very emotional,” he wrote in 2015. “Pop’s made it clear to me over the past 10 years that watching me play cricket is a big part of what keeps him going.”

Michael Clarke rocked by latest tragedy

It comes off the back of a devastating time for Clarke, who was rocked by the deaths of former teammates Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds last year. Clarke was also left shattered when Phillip Hughes died after a tragic on-field accident in 2014.

Clarke recounted his shock at hearing the news about Warne, which came just 24 hours after the death of Aussie cricket great Rod Marsh. “I remember when I got a phone call from (manager) Helen early in the morning on Saturday, I thought there might have been a bit of confusion, like a journalist might have said Warnie’s name when they really meant Rod Marsh,” Clarke admitted. “It took me some time to believe it was real.” He added: “I’m very lucky to have some wonderful people in my life - family and friends - but Warnie was as loyal as anyone."

Clarke has endured a tumultuous time in the last few months, with a public altercation with girlfriend Jade Yarbrough captured on camera and widely distributed. The furore ultimately cost him a commentary gig for Australia's Test tour of India, as well as a number of sponsorship deals.

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