Just three days before Pope John Paul II is to be declared a saint, a giant crucifix dedicated to the late leader of the Catholic church collapsed and killed an Italian man, according to media reports.
On Thursday, Marco Gusmini, 21, was posing for a picture with a group of friends in the northern Italian village of Cevo in front of the 100-foot wooden cross with a 20-foot concrete statue of Jesus attached when it came crashing down, The Telegraph reported.
The 1,320 pound structure killed Gusmini instantly.
The BBC said a group of children was reported to be present at the time of the accident.
Cevo mayor Silvio Citroni told ABC that future celebrations to mark the Polish pope’s elevation to sainthood in the village have been canceled.
"It is an inexplicable tragedy. A young life, so many hopes, destroyed this way. The boys ran in every direction when they heard the sound of the wood splintering. Unfortunately, that poor boy went the wrong way," the mayor said.
In an odd coincidence, Gusmini was reported to have lived on a street named for Italian-born Pope John XXIII, who is also set to be canonized on Sunday.Follow Robert Burgess on Twitter @bobb2001 Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org