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'I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha'

THE family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha who died in a suspected suicide following a prank call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge have spoken of their heartbreak at her death.

Benedict Barboza, a 49-year-old hospital accountant, posted a tribute to his wife on his Facebook page. He wrote: 'I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances, She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.'

The couple's 14-year-old daughter Lisha also paid tribute to her mother on Facebook by posting: "I miss you, I love you."

Jacintha's mother-in-law Carmine Barboza, 69, speaking from her home in southwest India, said: "We got a call last night from Benedict informing us that Jacintha had died. He was crying and couldn't speak much.

"We don't know whether we'll be able to bring her dead body back to India but we desperately hope so. We spoke to Benedict again this morning and he said he hasn't been allowed to see her body yet because of legal formalities and she'll not be handed over before Monday.

"Jacintha was a very caring woman. She used to call us every Sunday without fail. We just cannot believe what has happened.'

The tribute came as the head of the Australian radio station facing a storm of criticism over the prank call stood by his presenters.

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of Sydney-based radio station 2Day FM's parent company, said the two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, were "completely shattered" by news of the death of the nurse who answered their call.

Jacintha Saldanha was pronounced dead on Friday morning at an address near the King Edward VII's Hospital where the Duchess had been treated for a severe form of morning sickness.

The nurse, herself a mother of two, took the call from the DJs, who impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales. She believed they were genuine and put them through to another nurse, who described the duchess's condition in some detail.

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