The younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died in a freak accident. British travel writer Mark Shand, 62, slipped and fell on a pavement after attending an event in New York on Tuesday night.
Reports said that he was in New York to attend an auction of egg sculptures decorated by leading artists at Sotheby’s when the accident happened. The auction was in aid of the Elephant Family charity, of which he was the chairman.
He then attended an after-party at the Diamond Horseshoe club off Times Squares. When he left the venue at 3am, he tripped while trying to light a cigarette and hit his head outside the Rose Bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel, the Daily Mail claimed.
He was taken to the Bellevue Hospital where he was put on life support. He died 12 hours later.
Camilla is said to be “utterly devastated” by the death of her only brother.
“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,” Clarence House, Prince Charles and Camilla’s home, said in a statement.
“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 set up the charity Elephant Family in 2002 to help save Asian elephants from extinction.
“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,” the charity organisation released a statement.
Prince William and wife Catherine Middleton, have paused from their tour of Australia to express their sadness at Shand’s death.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn this morning of the tragic death of Mark Shand,” the couple issued a statement before embarking on their scheduled activities. “Their thoughts are with the Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time.”
Shand is survived by his 19-year-old daughter Ayesha.