A young Italian stage actor involved in a hanging scene gone wrong has been declared clinically dead, according to Italian media.
ANSA reports that Raphael Schumacher, 27, was declared brain dead Thursday evening after he failed to respond to treatment. He was admitted to hospital last Sunday and his condition continued to deteriorate.
"The family and the prosecutor's office have both authorized 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 hospital said in a statement.
Schumacher was performing in an experimental theatre work called Mirages at the Theatro Lux in Pisa last weekend. The production involves scenes staged at different locations at the venue, with patrons walking to and interacting with the actors performing at each spot.
According to organizers, Schumacher's scene — a monologue exploring a teenager's angst ending with a depiction of suicide — had been scripted to conclude with fake gunshots, but the actor allegedly changed the ending to depict hanging without telling others.
Despite Schumacher being masked, an unnamed audience member noticed tremors and other movements that indicated the actor was genuinely in distress.
The audience member, reportedly a recent medical school graduate, immediately raised the alarm. Schumacher was subsequently hospitalized in a coma, but never regained consciousness.
Police are probing the incident as an accident, amid conflicting reports of whether safety measures were in place for the production.
According to the Italian news agency, two directors and two stage technicians are under investigation, and could be liable for failing to follow workplace safety regulations.
Schumacher's family and friends have refuted suggestions the actor intended to take his own life.