Australia's Shane Warne was that rare breed of sportsman who managed to balance a roller coaster life off the field with world-beating performances on it. (Also Read: Shane Warne announces IPL retirement | Top IPL celeb moments)
The supremely talented "Spin King", who has announced his retirement from all cricket at the age of 41, became known for a colourful private life including a recent affair with British actress Liz Hurley.
But the bleach-blond, who took 708 Test wickets in a career that made him the scourge of batsman worldwide, will ultimately be remembered as one of Australia's best sportsman - in the eyes of many second-only to legendary batsman Don Bradman.
Warne will retire after the current Indian Premier League season with the Rajasthan Royals, ending a career in which he resurrected the art of leg-spin and became the first bowler to take 700 Test wickets.
At the same time the cigarette-puffing, beer-swilling "Warney" survived drug and bookmaking scandals and pursued an energetic love life which is widely thought to have cost him the Australian captaincy.
"A big thank you to everyone that has helped me - supported me through all the ups and downs - hope you have enjoyed watching me play," he said on his frequently updated Twitter page.
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh said he knew there was something special about the chubby young bowler from suburban Melbourne when he first saw him bowl on an Australian youth tour to Zimbabwe in 1991.
"I could hear the ball fizzing down the wicket," he said of the unlikely prodigy sporting spiky blond hair.
"It's something I've never heard before or since from another bowler, it was just the revolutions and energy he was putting on the ball."
Warne posted inauspicious figures of 1-150 in his 1992 Test debut but knuckled down under his mentor Terry Jenner and 18 months later caught the cricketing world's attention with the "ball of the century" against England.
The delivery, Warne's first in an Ashes Test, turned prodigiously to bamboozle England's Mike Gatting and herald the arrival of a cricketing superstar.
But controversy accompanied the stellar performances. The first negative headlines came when it emerged in 1998 that Warne and batsman Mark Waugh had been fined three years earlier for supplying information to an Indian bookmaker.
He was stripped of the vice-captaincy in 2000 after it emerged he had bombarded an English nurse with lewd text messages after meeting her in a nightclub.
A series of infidelities culminated in his break-up from his wife of 10 years Simone, with whom he has three children.
He produced a man-of-the-match performance when Australia won the World Cup in 1999, but missed the 2003 tournament after he tested positive for a banned diuretic, a drug scandal that almost cut short his career.
He insisted his mother had given him the pill to help him lose weight but doping authorities said it could have been used to mask the use of steroid and he was banned for a year in February 2003.
Warne returned to Test cricket in March 2004 but never again played international one-day matches, instead preferring to concentrate on the longer form of the game.
He beat several career-threatening injuries, and while his deliveries lost some of the turn produced in his early career he concentrated on deceiving batsman with flight and pace.
He also became a master of mind games, targeting batsmen ahead of a series and warning he was working on a new mystery ball with which to bowl out his "bunnies" in the opposition line-up.
His performance in the 2005 Ashes is regarded by some pundits as the best in his career when he overcame his disintegrating marriage and a tabloid frenzy to take 40 wickets.