10:24am

Mon December 10, 2012
The Two-Way

Royal Hoax: Nurse's Family 'Devastated,' Radio Hosts 'Shattered' By Her Death

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 12:40 pm

The family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha is "devastated" and "simply cannot understand or cope with what's happening," a British member of parliament tells the BBC as all those involved try to come to grips with the London nurse's apparent suicide.

Meanwhile, the two Australian radio hosts who called London's King Edward VII's Hospital last week and — while pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles — convinced Saldanha to transfer them to the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness, say they are "shattered" that the hoax seems to have taken such a terrible turn.

They've also had their show canceled. "In a statement, the radio station's owner, Southern Cross Austero Media, said it had ... ended [the hosts'] Hot 30 show, and suspended prank calls across the company," Sky News says.

Friday, as we reported, the 46-year-old Saldanha was found dead in an apartment in London. An inquest is under way, but the death is being treated as an "apparent suicide," the BBC says.

Keith Vaz, the member of parliament, says Saldanha's husband, children and other family members, needs as good or better support "than the DJs in Australia are getting. ... They're obviously grief stricken."

The Australian reports that Saldanha's 14-year-old daughter wrote on Facebook of her mother that "I miss you, I loveeee you." Saldanha's husband, wrote that he is "devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances,"

As for the radio hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, they've made a round of appearances on Australian TV shows to talk about what happened. As Sky News reports:

"A tearful Ms Greig, who was at times comforted by Mr Christian, told Today Tonight on Australia's Channel Seven: 'There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them.'

"Mr Christian said he was 'gutted, shattered, heartbroken' by the nurse's death."

The two said they never expected their prank call would be put through to another nurse, who would go on to share some details about the duchess's condition in what — after their radio show broadcast the conversation — became a huge embarrassment for the hospital.

The station's owners also claim that efforts were made to contact the hospital before the conversation was broadcast and that "the segment was referred to an internal review process which included internal legal review and authorisation was granted to broadcast," Huffington Post says.

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