- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2016

Italian actor Raphael Schumacher has been declared brain dead after he was accidentally strangled in a staged hanging scene that went wrong Saturday. 

Police have launched an investigation into the incident and say they are trying to establish whether the proper safety procedures were in place, CNN reported.

Four people are under investigation for manslaughter in Schumacher’s death, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

The 27-year-old actor’s family has authorized the harvesting of his organs, and the doctors have started the procedure, a spokesperson at Cisanello Hospital in Pisa told CNN.

Schumacher was participating in an experimental play in Pisa’s Teatro Lux. He had changed the play’s script at the last minute to change the death scene during a monologue he was performing.

“The original monologue included a fake gunshot, but he eventually decided for the hanging — without telling us,” the director of the theater company told Italian newspaper II Giorno.

A female medical graduate who was watching the scene noticed that the rope around Schumacher’s neck was too tight.

The actor’s head was covered at the time, but the spectator saw him trembling and realized something was wrong. She ran to him, loosened the noose, and with the help of another audience member, lowered him to the ground. He was rushed to the hospital shortly after, CNN reported.

The experimental play is set up like a live exhibit, with scenes taking place in different parts of the building while spectators walk through them. Schumacher’s scene was taking place in the courtyard at the time of the incident.

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