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Actor Declared Clinically Dead After On-Stage ‘Hanging’ Scene Went Horribly Wrong


"No one, not even us, understands how this happened and it will be up to the police to shed light on it."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Italian actor Raphael Schumacher was pronounced clinically dead following a staged "hanging" scene that went tragically awry last week, a spokesperson at Cisanello Hospital in Pisa said Friday.

Schumacher, 27, had been in a coma since Saturday night following his performance in an experimental theater production in Pisa's Teatro Lux courtyard in Italy, according to the BBC. The production involved the actors and actresses performing in different parts of the theater while spectators moved around to view different scenes. The play's script originally called for Schumacher's character to die from a gunshot wound, but Schumacher allegedly changed the script last-minute to include a hanging instead.

The trouble reportedly began when one member of the audience noticed that the rope around Schumacher's neck was far too tight, according to CNN. Although his head was covered at the time, the woman — who was allegedly also a medical student — rushed over to loosen the noose and lower him to the ground after she saw the actor trembling. Schumacher was rushed the hospital immediately afterward.

After being in a coma for several days, Schumacher's condition continued to worsen as doctors predicted that he had suffered severe and irreversible brain damage, the BBC reported. Schumacher did not respond to his treatments, and following an intensive six-hour procedure, the doctors declared him to be brain dead as the hospital issued a statement: "The family and the prosecutor's office have both authorised that his organs be donated, but their removal will be subject to a medical assessment to be performed in the course of the night."

The theater where the stunt malfunction occurred is currently undergoing an investigation into whether or not it included appropriate safety precautions and procedures, CNN noted. Four people allegedly are under investigation for possible manslaughter in Schumacher's death.

"We are shocked," said Gabriele De Luca, the art director at the Teatro Lux, according to the Daily Mail. "No one, not even us, understands how this happened, and it will be up to the police to shed light on it."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

Front-page image via Shutterstock

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