LONDON, England – King Edward VII hospital said a nurse duped in a prank telephone call to obtain information about the Duchess of Cambridge has died.
Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious at around 9:30 a.m. local time Friday, at an address in central London close to the hospital, where the Duchess had been admitted for severe morning sickness due to her pregnancy.
Officials at King Edward VII Hospital expressed their sadness over the nurse’s death. The news also sparked shock and outrage on Twitter. Read the official statements and some of the comments below:
The hospital has not confirmed how she died, but British media reported it appears to be a suicide.
“It is with deep sadness that 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 more than four years,” a hospital official said during his address to reporters, saying the staff was ”shocked” by the news.
She being described as “an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.”
Saldanha, 46, was a mother of two children.
Her family has issued a statement, saying they were “deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha” and have requested privacy from the media.
In the prank call, two Australian radio personalities from radio station 2Day FM pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and got a medical update on the Duchess while she was staying there.
The hospital confirmed she was recently the victim of a prank call to the hospital on Tuesday, but did not say what role she played in the call. It’s believed she was the first nurse to take the call, which was then transferred.
The two radio personalities apologized the following day, and on Friday, said they were deeply saddened by the tragic news of Saldanha’s death and extend their deepest sympathies.
However, the promo on 2Day FM on the crank call continued to air throughout the early morning hours, Saturday, in Australia. The audio of the call itself, as well as information about the personalities, were pulled from the site a few hours later.
A petition is now circulating on the Internet to have the personalities fired. They will not be returning to their shows for the time being.
Meanwhile, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have also expressed their sadness, saying their thoughts and prayers are with Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues.