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Hospital: Nurse involved in Kate Middleton phone hoax call dies

  • In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 file photo, Britain's Prince William stand next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON — The news that Prince William and the former Kate Middleton were expecting their first child — joyous news for a couple looking forward to starting a family — immediately turned bittersweet with the simultaneous announcement that the duchess was being hospitalized for acute morning sickness. Then there was an invasion of her privacy by two disc jockeys who impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to gain information on her condition.

By Friday, the sadness merely deepened, with the news that the nurse who unwittingly took the hoax call had died.

The royal couple quickly issued a statement expressing their condolences over the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the 46-year-old mother of two duped by the Australian DJs, who had suddenly found herself at the vortex of a global incident. They stressed they had not complained about the hoax call, and indeed offered praise for the staff. The hospital, too, stressed that Saldanha had not been reprimanded.

And yet the week can only be described as tragic, with the happiness so tarnished by the latest developments.

Saldanha was found dead early Friday at apartments affiliated with King Edward VII hospital in central London, where she worked for four years.

Police didn't release a cause of death, but said they didn't find anything suspicious. A coroner will make a determination on the cause.

2DayFM, the Australian station that performed the prank early Tuesday, said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter that the two disc jockeys, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, would not return to the station until further notice. They had apologized for the hoax Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the station did not return messages seeking further comment. Greig and Christian's Twitter accounts were deactivated following the news of Saldanha's death.

Saldanha took the hoax call by the pair, who impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to elicit information on the duchess, the hospital said. She later transferred the call to the nurse caring for the duchess, who was admitted to the hospital Monday with acute morning sickness.

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