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Tragedy rocks the royal family

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, died Wednesday in New York after falling and hitting his head the night before. He was 62.

Mr. Shand reportedly slipped while lighting a cigarette and hit his head on the pavement outside a nightclub Tuesday night. He was rushed to hospital where he died on Wednesday, BBC News reported.

Clarence House described Mr. Shand as a man of "extraordinary vitality, a tireless campaigner and conservationist."

"The duchess, the Prince of Wales and all her family members are utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss," Clarence House said in a statement.

The conservationist and travel writer had set up charity Elephant Family in 2002 to help prevent the extinction of the endangered Asian elephant.

"Today we have lost the head of our family. Mark Shand was a true force for conservation," said a spokesman for Elephant Family, as reported by The Daily Mail.

"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."

Mr. Shand had been in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's, which was in aid of unprivileged children and the Elephant Family.

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