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Switchboard operator fooled by Kate Middleton prank call found dead in apparent suicide

The switchboard operator who forwarded a prank call about Kate Middleton from an Aussie radio show was found dead near King Edward VII Hospital.

Kate middleton prank call 5 12 2012Enlarge
Police officers stand guard outside King Edward the VII hospital in London on December 3, 2012, where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was resting after suffering severe morning sickness. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The switchboard operator who forwarded along a prank call about an ailing Kate Middleton earlier this week was found dead near London's King Edward VII Hospital in what may have been a suicide. 

It is unclear whether there is any connection between the call and the woman's supposed suicide, and Scotland Yard refused to comment on the speculation, Business Insider reported

The hospital employee was found unconscious at around 9:30 this morning, at an address near the private hospital where Middleton was treated, the Daily Mail reported. The woman, Jacintha Saldanha, could not be revived, and was pronounced dead by ambulance workers on site. 

Scotland Yard officers investigating the death are calling it "unexplained," though an unnamed source told the Daily Mail that the woman "appeared to have killed herself." 

On Wednesday, Australian radio personalities Mel Greig and Michael Christian from the radio station 2DayFM prank-called the hospital pretending to be the Queen, and were put through to the Duchess' private nurse, in what the Aussie press has called "the best international scoop so far," according to the Huffington Post

Later on Friday, Southern Cross Austero, the company that owns the radio station that prank-called the hospital, released a statement saying, "SCA and 2DAY FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII's Hospital...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," according to The Daily Beast.

At least one advertiser, the supermarket chain Coles, announced late Friday it was pulling all ads from the radio station over the controversy, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"We understand Australians are clearly angry and upset by what appear to be tragic consequences of the 2Day FM hospital prank," the Coles group said in a statement on its Facebook page. "We have wanted to let you know we have instructed 2Day FM to remove all Coles group advertising from the station as soon as possible."

Saldanha leaves behind a husband and 2 children, according to the International Business Times

More from GlobalPost: Royal baby pranked: Kate Middleton's hospital gets hoax call from Australian radio station

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/121207/switchboard-operator-kate-middleton-prank-dead-suicide