Italian actor declared brain dead after being strangled on stage when hanging scene goes awry

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian actor has been declared brain dead after being strangled on stage when a hanging scene went wrong in the central region of Tuscany, a judicial source said on Friday (Feb 5).

The Teatro Lux in Pisa said in a statement it was closing for 10 days because "following the unthinkable tragedy... we think it right to suspend all our activities, including shows".

Raphael Schumacher, a 27-year-old from northern Italy, had been performing a monologue on adolescent existential unhappiness that ended with a scene of simulated suicide by hanging, local media reported.

The incident occurred during a private performance on Jan 30, the source said.

Schumacher clinically died on Thursday at the University Hospital of Pisa, where he had been lying in a coma since the incident last weekend, a hospital spokesman said.

Police are investigating four people who work for the company that runs the theatre for possible manslaughter, the source said.

Daily newspaper Corriere della Sera said Schumacher had chosen at the last moment to use a rope for the suicide scene rather than a pistol, and the authorities suspect safety requirements were not adhered to during the performance.