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

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Mark Shand, far left, stands next his brother-in-law, Britain's Prince Charles. Shand's sister Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, stands at far right. (photo from CNN)

(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 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 tragic 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.

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