Britain's Camilla 'devastated' by brother's death in fall

LONDON (AFP) - Camilla, wife of Britain's Prince Charles, was on Wednesday left "utterly devastated" after her brother died in an accident during a night out in New York, Clarence House said.

Environmental campaigner Mark Shand, 62, fell and hit his head on the pavement outside the Rose Bar at Manhattan's Gramercy Park Hotel late on Tuesday after attending a charity event.

He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday, according to the New York Police Department.

"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," said a spokesman for Clarence House, Charles's official office.

"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."

Mr Shand, who leaves behind a 19-year-old daughter, was chairman of the Elephant Family, a charity supporting the Asian elephant.

Clarence House called him "a tireless campaigner and conservationist... whose work through the Elephant Family and beyond remained his focus right up until his death."

Mr Shand's former wife and mother of his daughter Ayesha is French actress Clio Goldsmith, cousin of British socialite Jemima Khan and lawmaker James Goldsmith.

Ms Khan, former wife of Pakistan cricket legend and politician Imran Khan, tweeted: "RIP Mark Shand: Best man, godfather to my son & my cousin's ex."

Her ex-husband added his tribute, writing: "Shocked & saddened to learn of the death of one of my closest English friends, Mark Shand, in New York where he was raising funds 4 charity."

The Elephant Family called Mr Shand "a true force for conservation".

"He was both a legend and inspiration and above all our great friend," it said. "We ask at this time that people's thoughts are with his loved ones. We will miss him always."

Camilla and husband Charles are reported to be in Scotland, where they are preparing for next month's official visit to Canada.