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Nurse Who Transferred Prank Call About Pregnant Kate Middleton Is Found Dead

NPR icon by Eyder Peralta
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A prank call by two Australian DJs pretending to be Queen Elizabeth has ended in tragedy this morning: The nurse who transferred the call that led to the divulging of information about a pregnant Kate Middleton was found dead in her apartment today.

The Guardian reports that the woman, Jacintha Saldanha, worked at the King Edward VII hospital, where Middleton was admitted, suffering from severe morning sickness.

As Mark reported, the DJs, pretending to be the queen, asked to be transferred to her granddaughter and Saldanha routed the call to the on-duty nurse who gave the DJs a description of Middleton's condition.

The hospital issued this statement about Saldanha:

"Jacintha had 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 difficult time."

The BBC reports that Scotland Yard is treating the death as "unexplained."

SkyNews reports that Saldanha was declared dead at the scene and that police say they don't suspect homicide.

Sky adds:

"The prank call was deeply embarrassing for the hospital, which is the medical institution of choice for the Royal Family. ...

"Miss Greig and Mr Christian were lambasted on Twitter as news broke of the nurse's death, with people calling for them to resign.

"In the immediate aftermath of the call, the DJs apologised for the prank but later took to Twitter to brag of their success."

Update at 11:49 a.m. ET. Royal Statement:

Reuters reports the the office of Prince William has released this statement on the incident:

"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."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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