NEWS of nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s death has been acknowledged by the Royal family.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha,” said a statement issued by St James’s Palace, following the apparent suicide of the nurse who received the controversial prank phone call from two Australia radio DJs.
“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.”
Three days after being duped by Australian radio presenters during a royal phone prank, the London nurse was discovered dead in London on Friday.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was unable to be revived after being found unconscious at an address near London’s exclusive King Edward VII Hospital at 9.35am (local time) on Friday.
Police are not treating her death as suspicious.
Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse, who earlier in the week described the hoax call by 2Day FM jocks Mel Greig and Michael Christian as “foolish”, confirmed Ms Saldanha’s death on Friday afternoon.
“It is with deep sadness that I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” Mr Lofthouse told reporters.
“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 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 very difficult time.”
Ms Saldanha was on duty at the hospital earlier this week when Greig and Christian telephoned, impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles as they sought details of a patient, Prince William’s pregnant wife, Catherine.
The DJs are thought to have been put through by Ms Saldanha to the ward nurse looking after the Duchess of Cambridge.
The pair used toffy voices as they were patched through to the ward nurse, who relayed confidential details of Catherine’s condition.
The “joke” made global headlines as the actions of the 2Day FM duo were widely criticised.
Mr Lofthouse described Ms Saldanha, married and with two children, as a “first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients”.
“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,” he said.
A Royal aide confirmed to Sky News that no complaint was lodged with the hospital following the prank phone call.
The incident prompted the hospital to review its telephone protocol, while it considered legal action against the radio network. Ms Saldanha was not disciplined over the incident.
Greig and Christian have since apologised for the “lighthearted” prank, but have been bombarded with online abuse for their stunt. – with AAP