British nurse who took prank 'royals' call is found dead

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LONDON — A nurse who took a hoax call from two Australian disc jockeys asking about the condition of Kate Middleton, Prince William’s pregnant wife, has been found dead, the hospital where the woman worked confirmed today.

British media outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported that Jacintha Saldanha’s death was a suspected suicide. Scotland Yard said that the death was being treated “as unexplained.”

Saldanha was a nurse at King Edward VII Hospital in London, the private facility where Middleton, who is the duchess of Cambridge, was taken earlier this week for treatment for acute morning sickness, which prompted the royal family to announce her pregnancy.

On Tuesday, two Australian DJs speaking in fake British accents and posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, telephoned the hospital asking to speak to Middleton and for an update of her condition. A duped nurse told the “royal” callers that the duchess was asleep, had been rehydrated and was no longer vomiting.

The hospital’s chief executive, John Lofthouse, said Friday that his staff was shocked by Saldanha’s death.

Lofthouse described Saldanha as “a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us.”

Palace officials released a statement saying that Prince William and his wife were “deeply saddened” by Saldanha’s death.

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