Loading articles...

Nurse tricked by royal pregnancy hoax found dead

A nurse who was tricked by a prank phone call targeting a pregnant Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has been found dead.

London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital released a statement on Friday saying Jacintha Saldanha had recently been going through a “difficult time” as the victim of a hoax call to the facility, and she had died.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with [Saldanha’s] family and friends,” the hospital’s CEO John Lofthouse said in the release.

“Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”

Speaking for the royal couple, Prince William and Kate, St. James’s Palace also expressed sadness over the death.

“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,” the palace said in a statement.

Staff at the hospital fell for the prank call from Australian radio station 2DayFM and relayed personal details about Kate’s condition two days after she was admitted for acute morning sickness.

The radio hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, had phoned the hospital early Tuesday morning pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

They were put through to the ward where Kate was being treated and given intimate details about how she was faring.

On Friday, 2DayFM owner Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) released a statement saying the company, Greig and Christian had decided the hosts would leave their jobs indefinitely.

“They are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances,” the statement read.

“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.”

Saldanha had worked at the hospital for more than four years.

—With files from Reuters