Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who transferred a prank phone call from two Australian radio presenters about Kate Middleton, has died in a suspected suicide – two days after being duped.
Mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on the switchboard when 2DayFM obtained intimate details about Kate Middleton, was found dead near the King Edward VII Hospital today.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are “deeply saddened” by the tragedy and a Palace spokesman said the couple had not made a complaint about the prank call.
“Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time,” a statement said.
When asked if they had expressed concern, the spokesman added: “On the contrary we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”
The Palace declined to say whether the Duchess met Jacintha Saldanha but it was very possible.
The King Edward VII Hospital, which was not believed to be disciplining the nurse over incident, said it announced her death with “very deep sadness”.
Their statement added: “Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well respected and popular with all over her colleagues.”
Jacintha Saldanha answered the hoax call at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning and transferred the call through to Kate Middleton’s ward.
Another nurse then told the giggling DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, how the Duchess was about to “get freshened up”.
The station apologized for “any inconvenience caused” but provoked widespread fury and disbelief by continuing to continuing to promote its hoax, calling it “the prank call the world is talking about” before playing clips of the recording.
As the backlash grew Mel Greig and Michel Christian both deleted their Twitter accounts.
The emergency services were called and two ambulances were dispatched to the central London residence today.
But paramedics were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her family, husband and two children have been informed.
The hospital said this afternoon: “It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.
“Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than 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 throughout this difficult time.”
John Lofthouse, Chief Executive at King Edward VII’s Hospital, added: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”
Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, says: “This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.”
Officers from Scotland Yard launched an investigation yesterday and are treating the death as “unexplained”.
The exact cause of death remained unclear. However, one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.
A former neighbor of tragic nurse Jacintha Saldanha yesterday described her as a “nice, lovely lady”.
The neighbor lived next door to Jacintha Saldanha, her two sons and partner Benedict Barboza – know as Ben – at an address in Bristol several years ago.
Even today Michael Christian was urging people to tune in to their show to hear more about #royalprank.