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Death of Prince Charles' brother-in-law ruled accidental

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 3:59 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Mark Shand, founder of the Elephant Family charity, "<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/23/us/prince-charles-brother-in-law-dies/'>died in a hospital as a result</a> of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall" on Monday, April 21, Britain's Clarence House said in a statement. <a href='http://www.elephantfamily.org/' target='_blank'>According to the Elephant Family website,</a> in 1988, Shand arrived in India and rescued a female elephant named Tara, (shown). Tara became his traveling companion and inspiration on a 1,000-mile adventure that led to the foundation of the charity. Mark Shand, founder of the Elephant Family charity, "died in a hospital as a result of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall" on Monday, April 21, Britain's Clarence House said in a statement. According to the Elephant Family website, in 1988, Shand arrived in India and rescued a female elephant named Tara, (shown). Tara became his traveling companion and inspiration on a 1,000-mile adventure that led to the foundation of the charity.
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The life of Mark Shand
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The life of Mark Shand
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Medical examiner cites "skull fracture and subdural hematoma" in Mark Shand's death
  • Shand, brother of Prince Charles' wife, died Wedneday after falling and injuring his head
  • Shand was the chairman of a foundation that tried to save Asian elephants

(CNN) -- This week's death of Prince Charles' brother-in-law, who passed away in New York City after injuring his head in a fall, was accidental, the city medical examiner's office said Thursday.

Mark Shand, brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, died from "blunt impact head trauma with a skull fracture and subdural hematoma," according to Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

A subdural hematoma is a traumatic injury in which blood pools between two protective layers of the brain.

Prince Charles' official residence, Britain's Clarence House, said Wednesday that Shand, 62, died in a New York hospital after injuring his head in a fall on Tuesday night.

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

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge issued a statement that said the couple was saddened by the death.

"Their thoughts are with The Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time," the statement said.

The Elephant Family, a conservation group based in England, mourned the loss of its chairman and 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," the organization said in a statement on its website.

CNN profiled the charity, which was working to improve conditions for Asian elephants, in 2007.

Shand said he was trying to show owners and riders more humane ways to treat the animals.

"You can't stop a tradition that's been going on for years, you can only help it," he said. His group also fought against poachers and the destruction of the elephants' habitats.

Shand also was the author of several books about elephants and his travels in Asia. One of those books, "Queen of Elephants," was the source for a BBC documentary.

People we lost in 2014

CNN's Yon Pomrenze, Shimon Prokupecz and Elizabeth Landers contributed to this story.

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