The death today of a nurse who was the victim of a radio prank involving the pregnancy of the wife of Britain's Prince William shook the nation and the royal family.

Jacintha Saldanha was the nurse at the King Edward VII Hospital who answered a call last Tuesday from two Australian disc jockeys posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles seeking information on the condition of Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.

The nurse, a 46-year-old mother of two, was found unconscious Friday in her apartment near the hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Though police have not confirmed the cause of death, British media suggested it was suicide.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a spokesman from St. James Palace - the official residence of William and Kate - said in a statement.

"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.

It was early morning in London when Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian telephoned the hospital.

Saldanha, who answered the phone because at that hour there was no receptionist on duty, transferred the call to Middleton's room, where another nurse told the DJs that the patient was well.

After the incident, the hospital apologized for having fallen in the trap and said it would review its internal procedures to avoid further intrusions.

Hospital management said Friday que Saldanha was not sanctioned for what happened, and spokespersons for the British royal family confirmed that no complaints had been made.

Middleton's hospitalization led to the royal family's announcement Monday that the duchess is pregnant, news that had media from around the world camping at the doors of the hospital. EFE