An Italian actor who was left in a coma after he accidentally hanged himself during a live theatre performance has been pronounced clinically dead.
Raphael Schumacher, 27, was performing in a production of Mirages at the Teatro Lux in Pisa, Italy, when the incident occurred.
He was taken to hospital on Saturday night and has been in a coma since. Doctors say his condition has worsened and that he was not responding to treatment.
The BBC reports that following a six-hour procedure to establish brain death on Thursday, 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.”
Mirages is a six-scene immersive performance staged in different parts of the theatre, with audience members walking between them. At the time of the incident, Schumacher was reciting a monologue from Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening alone in a courtyard in front of just one spectator.
The actor reportedly changed the ending of the scene by placing his head in a noose instead of using a gun. He was discovered unconscious by a second spectator, reportedly a medical student, who rushed to his aid.
While it is assumed that the incident was accidental, an investigation has been launched into the theatre’s safety procedures. That investigation has shifted from grievous bodily harm to culpable homicide, or manslaughter, according to the BBC.
Schumacher’s mother has rejected the theory that he may have tried to commit suicide. “My son recently lost his father and had ended a relationship but had found his serenity again,” she said. “He didn’t leave a suicide note and had no reason to kill himself.”
The theatre’s art director, Gabriele De Luca, told the Daily Mail: “We are shocked. No one, not even us, understands how this happened and it will be up to the police to shed light on it.”