Tragic news in London.
After being phone pranked by two Australian DJs, Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse working at the hospital where a pregnant Kate Middleton stayed, was found dead on Friday, Dec. 7 in a suspected suicide.
An employee at the King Edward VII Hospital, Saldanha took a phone call on Wednesday in which DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, pretending to be Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth, asked for info about the expectant Duchess of Cambridge. Fooled by the hoax, the nurse passed the phone on to another employee, who then provided details about the 30-year-old royal, who stayed at the hospital for four days as she suffered from extreme morning sickness.
John Lofthouse, Chief Executive of King Edward VII Hospital, confirmed the death to Us Weekly "with very deep sadness," adding, "Jacintha was an excellent nurse, well-respected and popular." She is survived by a husband, two children and other family members, who have been informed of the death.
As Kate recuperates at home in Kensington Palace, she and Prince William, both 30, also issued a statement: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
They added: "At no point did the Palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times."
Reps for Scotland Yard confirmed to Us that Saldanha was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning at a location hear the hospital; other details surrounding her death were not yet available.
"Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague," John Lofthouse tells Us. Of the hoax, Lofthouse explained that Salanha was the "victim" in the prank; "the hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."
On Wednesday, 2Day FM, the Australian radio station behind the hoax, issued an apology; they have yet to comment on Saldanha's death.
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