Hospital: Nurse involved in Kate hoax call dies
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 file photo, policeman stand guard outside the King Edward VII hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted with a severe form of morning sickness, in London .King Edward VII hospital says the nurse involved in Kate hoax call has died, it has been announced, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
LONDON (AP) — A nurse who fell victim to a prank telephone call seeking information about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge has died, the London hospital where she worked reported Friday.
The King Edward VII hospital said nurse Jacintha Saldanha took the hoax call by two Australian radio disc jockeys who impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles early Tuesday to elicit private information on the duchess's condition. Saldanha later transferred the call to the nurse caring for the duchess, who is suffering from acute morning sickness. That second nurse spoke freely about her 30-year-old patient, one of the world's most photographed women.
Saldanha was found dead early Friday. Police say her death is unexplained.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends," said John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said in a statement. "Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much-loved and valued colleague."
St. James's Palace, which speaks for Prince William, the duchess' husband, also expressed sadness about the nurse's death, but insisted that it had not complained about the hoax.
"On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times," the palace said in a statement.
The prank phone call took place early Tuesday and the two radio personalities apologized the following day.
A woman using the often-mimicked voice of Britain's monarch asked after the duchess' health. She was told by the second nurse who took the call from Saldanha that the duchess, the former Kate Middleton, "hasn't had any retching with me and she's been sleeping on and off."
The nurse went on to say the duchess had had an uneventful night, as another radio employee pretended to be a dog yapping in the background. The alleged queen and prince then talked about traveling to the London hospital to check in on the patient, who is married to the queen's grandson, Prince William.
FILE- 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. Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child, and the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. King Edward VII hospital says a nurse involved in a prank telephone call to elicit information about the Duchess of Cambridge has died. The hospital said Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 that Jacintha Saldanha had been a victim of the call made by two Australian radio disc jockeys. They did not immediately say what role she played in the call. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
The hospital said it supported Saldanha in the aftermath of the call and that its phone protocols were under review.
The Australian station 2DayFM placed the recording of the conversation on its website but later said it was sorry. Australian radio personalities Mel Greig and Michael Christian apologized for the hoax.