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Italian opera tenor Licitra dies after accident

Sep 5, 2011, 11:54 a.m.
Tenor Salvatore Licitra of Italy sings during a free concert on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park July 19, 2003. The concert was held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the park. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen

MILAN (Reuters) - Salvatore Licitra, a leading Italian opera tenor seen as an artistic heir to the late Luciano Pavarotti, died Monday from head injuries suffered in a scooter accident last month, a statement on his website said.

Licitra, 43, fell and hit his head when he lost control of his scooter late on August 27 near the Sicilian city of Ragusa.

He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Catania, where his condition was described as very serious.

"Salvatore Licitra did not make it," the statement posted on his official website said. "The doctors have declared him brain dead."

His family agreed to his organs being transplanted, it said.

The Swiss-born tenor debuted in 1998 but made his international breakthrough in 2002 when he stepped in for Pavarotti in Puccini's "Tosca," at New York's Metropolitan Opera. The New York Times had praised him for his "worthiness of the great Italian tradition."

(Reporting By Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)

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