Royal hospital pays tribute to 'excellent nurse' Jacintha Saldanha

Chris Parsons

The private hospital where Jacintha Saldanha worked today paid tribute to an 'excellent nurse and well-respected member of staff'.

Miss Saldanha was found unconscious at an address near the King Edward VII Hospital in London this morning, two days after she was the subject of telephone hoaxers pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.

Officials from the hospital quickly made a public tribute to the nurse, with chief executive John Lofthouse facing the media hours after the tragic news emerged.

The hospital said in a statement: "We can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.

"Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and a well-respected and popular member of staff with all her colleagues.

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital.

"The hospital has been supporting her at this difficult time."

Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse said: "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."

Lord Glenarthur, the hospital's chairman, said: "This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed."

St James' Palace also reacted to the news, issuing a statement saying that the Duke and Duchess were 'deeply saddened' by the death.