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Prank-call radio station suspends DJs, ads; dead nurse's family 'deeply saddened'

The radio DJs who prank called the hospital where Princess Kate Middleton was being treated are facing tremendous backlash following the death of one of the nurses who spoke with them. NBC's Annabel Roberts reports.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET: An Australian radio station that staged a prank phone call to the hospital where Duchess Kate was being treated has suspended the radio hosts involved and pulled all advertising after a nurse who was fooled by the call was found dead.

Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead Friday, is seen in a handout photograph from London's Metropolitan Police.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, radio hosts on the station 2Day FM in Sydney, called King Edward VII’s Hospital earlier in the week and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles — and obtained information about Kate's closely watched pregnancy. They were said to be "shattered" by Jacintha Saldanha's death.


The body of Saldanha, 46, who had transferred their call through to Kate's room, was found Friday.

Rhys Holleran, CEO of the entertainment group that owns the radio station, announced at a press briefing that the show was suspended.

"Southern Cross Austereo and the hosts have mutually decided that the show will not return until further notice, out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy," Holleran said.

"This is a tragic event, and one that we could never have foreseen," he said.

'Our beloved Jacintha'
Police said in a statement Saturday that an autopsy would be held next week and a formal inquiry into her death, called an inquest, would open at a future date at Westminster Coroner’s Court.

They released a statement on behalf of Saldanha’s family.

"We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha,” the family said. “We would ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

Nurse who was duped by prank call about Duchess Kate found dead

News of Saldanha’s death sparked a storm of outrage, including a flood of harsh comments aimed at the Australian hosts on social media, including these, published on Twitter. 


- "A husband without a wife and two kids without a mother! All thanks to you two @MelGreigHot30 & @MContheradio SHAME ON YOU! #royalprank" (@vratnay)"

- "Hope #MelGreig & #MichaelChristianrealise the consequences of their actions resulted in the death of a honest person#Jacintha #2DayFM"

- "Michael Christian and Mel Greig should never be allowed to broadcast again in the public domain for the rest of their lives, imbeciles!" (@ALG4"

Police have said the circumstances of Saldanha's death are unexplained.

King Edward VII hospital in London is still reeling from being seriously punked by two radio DJ's who called and spoke to Kate's nurse. Meanwhile, the two Australians DJs apologized for their hoax. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

Radio DJs impersonate royals, get lowdown on Kate

There were at least two online petitions calling on the two to be dismissed for "gross misconduct," the Herald Sun reported.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Austereo announced that it was suspending all advertising on the station. That news came after supermarket chain Coles and telecommunications company Telstra announced they were pulling their ads from the station.

Duchess Kate discharged from the hospital

Holleran said the company was not commenting on the case, except to express condolences over the tragedy.

"We're very confident that we haven't done anything illegal," he said Saturday. "What happened was incredibly tragic and we're deeply saddened and we're incredibly affected by that.'

He also expressed concern for the hosts, who he described as "shattered" by the events.

Southern Cross Media Group CEO Rhys Holleran spoke to reporters concerning the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who was found dead after a radio prank call to Duchess Kate Middleton's hospital. He said that he and the radio hosts "were deeply saddened" and that the tragedy "could not have been reasonably foreseen."

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