Mark Shand

Kate Middleton and Prince William may be having a wonderful time in sunny Australia, but tragedy has suddenly struck their family. Prince William's stepmother, Camilla, has been dealt a huge blow by the sudden and tragic death of her brother, Mark Shand, who had stepped outside of a bar in New York City after a fundraiser when he slipped, fell, and hit his head. He was rushed to a hospital but quickly succumbed to his injuries and died. He was only 62.

The royal family issued a statement saying:

It is with deep sadness that we have to confirm that The Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, has today passed away in New York. Mr Shand died in hospital as a result of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall last night. The Duchess, The Prince of Wales and all her family members are utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss. Mark Shand was a man of extraordinary vitality, a tireless campaigner and conservationist whose incredible work through The Elephant Family and beyond remained his focus right up until his death.

Shand has been described as a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond -- an adventurer, conservationist, and travel writer. He was the chairman of the Elephant Family, a wildlife foundation. They wrote on their website:

Today we have lost the head of our family. Mark Shand was a true force for conservation. He was both a legend and inspiration and above all our great friend. We ask at this time that people’s thoughts are with his loved ones. We will miss him always.

He sounds just like the kind of guy that the royals would have been proud of, especially William and Charles, as they are both very into conservation. And Camilla must be devastated that her brother has passed away so suddenly before she had a chance to say goodbye.

But Mark Shand's amazing work will live on.

Any words for the royals?

 

Image via The Elephant Family