The hospital worker who unknowingly patched through a prank phone call to the personal nurse of Kate Middleton has died of an apparent suicide.
According to the Daily Mail, Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious Friday morning in close proximity to London’s King Edward VII Hospital where she worked. When an ambulance was called to take Saldanha to the hospital she was declared dead at the scene.
A spokesperson for Scotland Yard told the Daily Mail, “The death is not being treated as a suspicious at this stage.”
It was Saldanha, a nurse at King Edward VII, who became the victim of a practical joke on Wednesday by an Australian radio station. The prankster called pretending to be the Queen of England in an attempt to speak to Middleton, who was in the hospital due to severe morning sickness. The prank worked as the call was actually transferred to the Duchess of Cambridge’s nurse by Saldanha. The embarrassing conversation, which included private details about Middleton’s pregnancy, was heard all over the Internet. The DJ’s involved in the prank, Mel Greig and Michael Christian of Sydney’s 2Day FM station, have since been suspended. TMZ reports that Mel and Michael are “deeply shocked” by this tragedy.
A contrite announcement from the duo’s radio station read: “SCA and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital. SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
A spokesperson for Prince William and Kate Middleton said in another 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.”
John Lofthouse, chief executive of the hospital, expressed heartbreaking condolences on behalf of Saldanha’s place of employment. “It is with deep sadness as I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. “Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for over four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues. We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. Jacintha was a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and her friends. Thank you.”