Nurse at Kate hospital found dead in suspected suicide

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left hospital yesterday after Kate was treated for acute morning sickness. Photo: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were "deeply saddened" today after a nurse who was duped by a hoax call to the hospital treating pregnant Kate apparently took her own life.

Jacintha Saldanha was found at an address near the King Edward VII's Hospital in London this morning.

In the early hours of Tuesday, she had been the victim of a hoax call by two Australian radio DJs who impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales and were later given information about the Duchess' condition.

It is understood that Jacintha Saldanha, a mother of two from Bristol, answered the initial call made by the DJs to the hospital and transferred it to a colleague.

The DJs, Mel Greig and Christian Michael, will not return to their show until further notice, the owners of the 2Day FM station announced this evening.

In a statement released by the King Edward VII Hospital, Jacintha was described as an "excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues".

King Edward VII hospital in central London. Credit: Press Association

In a statement, St James's Palace said:

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.

The Palace added: "At no point did the Palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times."

ITV News' Tim Ewart reports:

Jacintha Saldanha's family paid tribute to the nurse through a statement released by Metropolitan Police. It read:

We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha.

We would ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time. We would request that you direct your questions and queries through the police press office.

Police said they were called today at approximately 9.35am today to reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in West London close, to the hospital.

London Ambulance Service was called and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.

It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession

Radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian who made the hoax call. Credit: 2Day FM

A statement from the owners of the 2Day FM station, from where the call came, said:

"Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward V11 Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family, and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.

"CEO Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked, and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances.

"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."

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