"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn this morning of the tragic death of Mark Shand," a spokesman for the couple said Wednesday following the passing of Camilla Parker Bowles' younger brother. "Their thoughts are with The Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time."
Kate and William are close to wrapping up their three-week trip to New Zealand and Australia, having touched down this morning in the capital city of Canberra. Will was due to give a speech in front of the Australian Federal Parliament.
Shand, 63, suffered a head injury in a fall late last night after leaving an after-party at the Grammercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar. Earlier in the evening he was at Sotheby's Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, which was also attended by Princess Eugenie. He died at a nearby hospital.
"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. "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."
Also in Australia Wednesday, after spinning tunes at Northern Sound System in Adelaide and trying their hand at graffiti, William and Kate helped plant an English oak tree at the National Arboretum and met with children from Black Mountain School.
Afterward, the royal itinerary called for the stop at Parliament for an official reception, followed by a trip to the National Portrait Gallery and the sole evening engagement on the Australian leg of their schedule, a party at Yarralumla, the official residence of Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Tomorrow the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to participate in Anzac Day events, commemorating those from New Zealand and Australia who served and died while fighting wars, on peacekeeping missions and in other forms of military involvement. Then it's back to London on Friday via Royal Australian Air Force plane.