Nurse In Royal Prank Found Dead In Suspected Suicide - New York News

Nurse In Royal Prank Found Dead In Suspected Suicide

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LONDON -

The London nurse who took a prank call this week from radio station disc jockeys pretending to be members of the royal family has been found dead days later, according to news reports.

SkyNews reports that the woman died in a suspected suicide Friday morning at an address near King Edward VII's Hospital, where she worked, one day after pregnant Kate Middleton was discharged.

"It is with deep sadness that I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha," said John Lofthouse, chief executive of King Edward VII's Hospital.

Hospital officials say Saldanha was helping out on the reception desk Tuesday when two Australian radio DJ's called pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, asking to be put through to the room of Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Authorities say Saldanha, a four-year hospital employee, put the call through to ward where Middleton was being treated.

A startled nurse then spent the next few moments describing how Middleton – being treated for severe morning sickness – was being cared for before summarizing that she was "stable at the moment."

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital," Lofthouse said. "The hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time."

Hospital officials say Saldanha was found unconscious near the hospital Friday morning.  Emergency workers tried to revive her, but she died at the scene.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the Australian radio hosts who pulled the phone prank, apologized a day after making their call and airing it after reportedly running it past their station's lawyers.

Now, the station and the two DJs are facing backlash online. Their website and Facebook pages are packed with comments from angry people blaming the hoax for the nurse's death.

Late Friday, the DJs apparently took themselves off the air after consulting with management, TMZ reports.

In a statement Friday from St James's Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were "deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," adding they were looked after wonderfully by "everybody at the hospital."

The palace said in a statement that "their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."

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