Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious on Friday morning nearby King Edward VII Hospital in London, where she worked. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that the police were called and an ambulance arrived, but the woman was declared dead at the scene.
The Daily Mail speculates that “one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.” A rep for Scotland Yard only stated, “The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”
“It is with deep sadness as I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” said John Lofthouse, chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement. “Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for over 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 through this very difficult time. Jacintha was a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. 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. Thank you.”
St. James Palace also released a statement about the incident: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. 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.”
This past Wednesday, the day after the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was admitted at King Edward VII Hospital to be treated for hyperemesis gravidarum, two radio hosts from 2Day FM, a Sydney-based station, called up the hospital for an on-air prank. Hosts Mel Grieg and Michael Christian pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, respectively, and were transferred by Saldanha to Kate’s nurse.
The nurse proceeded to reveal medical details to the supposed royal relatives, including the best time for them to come visit the pregnant duchess.
The two Australian radio hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both took down their Twitter accounts on Friday, reports journalist Daniel Bentley. An executive producer for the station, 2Day FM, told TMZ, “I advise you to stop trying to call them” as the hosts have been “ordered” not to speak to media.
Later on Friday, news broke that Greig and Christian of 2Day FM will be stepping away from their duties following the news of Saldanha’s death. Southern Cross Austereo, the company that owns the station, released a statement reported by TMZ, which says, “SCA and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital. […] 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.”