Leigh Sales paid tribute to Shane Warne on ABC at 7:30 a.m. Monday night, mourning the loss of her “dream interview.”
The award-winning journalist revealed in a lengthy Instagram post on Sunday that the ‘King of Spin’ was at the top of her wishlist when she took over the program in 2011 – finally sitting down with Warne seven years later.
Sales said he was a “genius” who adored his children and admitted the chat left her “touched” by their relationship.
‘I loved him very much. Vale Warnie, the country will be less bright and interesting without you, and my condolences to his family and friends,” she posted on social media.
Leigh Sales (pictured right) paid tribute to Shane Warne (left) on ABC at 7.30pm Monday night, mourning the loss of her ‘dream interview’
On Monday night, she closed the show by addressing former wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who stood at the other end of the pitch against Warne for more than a decade.
Sales said she, like most cricket fans around the world, was saddened by the void her absence would leave.
“It’s hard to believe we’ll never turn on cricket again to hear Shane Warne’s confident and insightful commentary,” she said.
“We will never see an online story about his colorful and reliable personal life again. The country is still in shock after his sudden death on Friday, especially the cricketing world.
She previously shared her 2018 interview with Warne, an ongoing conversation for seven years.
“When I started at 7:30 in 2011, one person was at the top of my interview wish list: Warnie,” she wrote on Instagram.
“People were still in disbelief about it – ‘Among everyone on the planet, you want to interview Warnie? I did this because I felt that, with the exception of an interview with Michael Parkinson when Warnie retired, Warnie had never received a serious, in-depth television interview that treated him properly.
“He was a genius and a historically significant cricketer, but also something that is increasingly rare: a true, original character who made no apologies for who he was.”
Sales said he was a ‘genius’ who adored his children and admitted the chat left her ‘touched’ by their relationship
Sales said she worked for seven years to convince Warne to sit down with her, saying she “couldn’t understand” why he never did in-depth interviews.
‘Warnie didn’t know who I was, he didn’t really understand what was in it for him to do it etc etc. Eventually it happened in 2018. to meet “and from that moment I knew he would be golden,” she said.
“And he was – smart, charming, interesting, vulnerable, honest.” He might be an asshole, but he knew it and didn’t try to hide it.
Sales said first and foremost that she remembers being “touched” by the relationship between Warne and her three children.
“I remember in his book he gave his children a chapter to write. You could tell how much they loved it,’ the 7:30 host said.
“More than that, they got it. Their vibe was ‘yes dad hurt and embarrassed us, but he also loved us and we love him too.
“It was very touching.”
Sales (pictured) said she worked for seven years to convince Warne to sit down with her, saying she ‘couldn’t understand’ why he never did in-depth interviews
Warne’s death on a Thai resort island was due to natural causes, according to an autopsy report by local authorities.
His body was transported from the island of Koh Samui by ferry to the mainland of Surat Thani on Sunday and then to a local hospital, where the autopsy took place.
Officials have confirmed that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, which is believed to be the result of a heart attack.
The 52-year-old’s family have been notified of the outcome and his body will be transferred to Australian consular authorities for return to Australia, Thai National Police deputy spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said on Monday.
His remains are now expected to be prepared for an air transfer to Melbourne on Tuesday ahead of a state funeral at his beloved Melbourne Cricket Ground, where 100,000 supporters are expected to attend.
Warne’s family released a lengthy statement Monday evening with individual tributes from his parents Keith and Brigette, his brother Jason, his three children Brooke, Jackson and Summer and his ex-wife Simone Callahan.
Shane Warne’s father Keith (far left) and mother Brigette (far right) described their son’s death as a ‘neverending nightmare’ They are pictured with Warne and his then-partner Liz Hurley in 2013.
“The night of March 4, 2022 is when an endless nightmare began for our family, as it was the date we lost our much loved and admired son, father, brother and uncle, Shane Keith Warne,” a tragedy we can never accept,” the parents wrote.
‘Finding words to adequately express our sadness is an impossible task for us and looking forward to a future without Shane is inconceivable, I hope the mountain of happy memories we all have will help us deal with our continuing grief.’
Warne’s eldest daughter Brooke, 24, vowed to always cherish their last memories together as she laughed and joked with each other.
“We were so similar in so many ways and I always used to joke that I had your genes and how much that annoyed me!” she said.
‘Well now I couldn’t be happier and prouder to have your genes. I am lucky and will always be so proud to call you my dad forever. I love you to infinity and back and I will miss you forever.
Brooke Warne (pictured in London with her father Shane) said she will always cherish their last memories together laughing and joking
Warne’s son Jackson, 23, doesn’t think anything can fill the void left in his broken heart.
“Sitting at the poker table, walking around the golf course, watching the Saints and eating pizza will never be the same again,” he said.
“But I know that all you ever wanted for me was to be happy, no matter what.” You just wanted me to be happy, that’s all.
‘So that’s what I’m going to do, try to be happy. I will miss you so much dad and you were truly the best father and companion anyone could have asked for.
Warne’s youngest daughter Summer, 20, described him as the best father anyone could ask for as she recalled their time together
“I wish I could tell you it would be okay and hold your hand. You’re the best dad anyone could ask for,” she said.
“Our time has been stolen. I want no more holidays with you, no more laughs where your smile lights up the whole room, no more ‘good night I love you SJ, I’ll see you tomorrow morning’, no more talks about how our days were and just to feel you safe when you kiss me and let me know how proud you are of me and how much you love me.
“You’re not dead dad, you just moved, and it’s in our hearts.
Watching his beloved St Kilda AFL team will never be the same for Jackson Warne (pictured left with his late father)
Shane Warne has been described as the best dad anyone could ask for by his youngest daughter Brooke (pictured)
Simone Callahan, mother of the Warne children and ex-wife of 10 years, added: ‘Who bring such great light to the world that even after they are gone the light remains.’
Jason Warne remembered his brother as an amazing guy who lived an amazing life.
“The world has lost someone extremely special to them, who had a positive influence on their lives and it is incredibly touching to see the emotion and the incredible tributes paid to him by his friends, teammates, opponents and media.” , did he declare.
“Personally, I lost my nemesis in all sports when I was a kid, the person who smeared vegemite under my nose while he pinned me giving me the typewriter, my big brother , my friend.
“Life will always have a huge hole in it. I will miss our fierce competition on the golf course, the poker table and the luge, seeing who could put the other on tilt first.
The family accepted an offer from the Victorian Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a state funeral for Warne.