Stretford , Urmston , Trafford Photographer

New Pavarotti Dies After Scooter Accident

Salvatore Licitra, a tenor known in his Italian homeland as the “new Pavarotti” for his potent voice, has died at the age of 43 after a motor scooter accident.

Licitra failed to regain consciousness after spending nine days in a coma at Sicily’s Garibaldi Hospital.

Doctors said the opera singer crashed his scooter into a wall near the town of Ragusa, apparently after suffering a blood clot to the brain while driving.

His frequent on-stage partner, soprano Deborah Voigt, has paid tribute to her friend.

“This is just heartbreaking,” she said.

“Salvatore was a great singer but he was also just a really lovely guy.

“Always ready for a laugh, always light in spirit.”

It was on the stage of Metropolitan Opera in New York, that Licitra, the Swiss-born son of Sicilian parents, grabbed the world’s attention.

He stood in for mega-tenor Luciano Pavarotti in a gala performance in 2002 of Puccini’s Tosca, impressing the audience and winning long ovations for his two big arias.

Italian state TV, giving the news of his death, said Licitra was considered “Pavarotti’s heir”.