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MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Leading Italian opera tenor Salvatore Licitra, seen as an artistic heir to the late Luciano Pavarotti, is in serious condition with head injuries suffered in a Sicilian scooter accident, his publicist said Monday.
Licitra lost control of his scooter while out late on Saturday near the city of Ragusa, fell and struck his head, publicist Peter Dingens said. He was not wearing a helmet.
Licitra, 43, was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Catania, Sicily. His girlfriend was with him on the scooter but was unhurt.
"He's definitely in a serious condition. It's really too early to say what the case is," Dingens 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 has praised him for his "worthiness of the great Italian tradition."
Licitra was scheduled to perform the title role in Verdi's "Ernani" in the Teatro Comunale di Bologna's tour of Japan starting next month.
Reporting by Ian Simpson, Editing by Mark Trevelyan