The nurse receptionist who transferred the Kate Middleton hoax phone call from Australian radio DJs claiming to be the Queen was found dead this morning from an apparent suicide near the King Edward VII Hospital where she worked. Jacintha Saldanha, mother of two and a nurse at the hospital for the past four years, was found around 9:30am. Paramedics on the scene attempted to revive her but were unsuccessful.
In case you are not up to date, the newly pregnant Kate Middleton was recently hospitalized after suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (aka severe morning sickness) and during her stay at King Edward VII Hospital, Kate’s room received a mysterious phone call from someone claiming to be The Queen. The call turned out to be a hoax by on-air personalities Mel Greig and Michael Christian from Australia’s 2Day FM radio show, but the receptionist on duty (Saldanha) transferred the call without realizing it. Kate’s personal nurse then nervously explained Kate’s condition to who she thought was The Queen.
Hours after the incident, the station issued an apology which read, “”We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents. We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues and we’re glad to hear that Kate is doing well.”
Kate Middleton prank callers Mel Greig (left) and Michael Christian
Following the woman’s death, the station apologized for “any inconvenience caused” but continued to air audio clips of the hoax, calling it “the prank call the world is talking about” which caused all sorts of backlash and eventually lead to DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian (the “Queen” and “King”) deleting their Twitter accounts.
Both Kate Middleton and Prince William were “deeply saddened” to hear of the tragedy “Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time,” a Palace spokesperson said. When asked if they had expressed concern over the incident, the spokesperson explained that they hadn’t even filed a complaint about the misunderstanding and added, “On the contrary we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”
The hospital released this statement about Saldanha’s death:
“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s 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.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”
Listen to the prank below:
UPDATE – The two DJs have been taken off the air until further notice and the radio station’s parent company (Southern Cross Austereo) just posted this statement on their Facebook page:
Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.
Chief Executive Officer 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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