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Man believed to have set himself on fire on National Mall dies of injuries

Police investigate the scene where a man apparently set himself on fire Friday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Gary Cameron / Reuters

A man who apparently set himself on fire on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has died, authorities said Saturday.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department told NBC Washington that the man died around 9 p.m. Friday night. The man has not yet been identified because of the severity of his burns, he said.

Joggers and other passers-by ripped off their shirts to help extinguish the flames during the incident, which was reported at 4:24 p.m. ET, occurred on Seventh Street Southwest near the National Air and Space Museum, the Park Police said.

Witnesses told several media organizations, including NBC Washington, that they saw the man pour gasoline on himself from a red canister and then set himself ablaze. There was a red plastic fuel container near where the incident happened, Reuters reported.

Nicole Didyk, an environmental engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration, told Reuters she was out for a run when she saw spotted the man with small flames on him.

"There were five gentlemen hitting him with their T-shirts," said Didyk, an environmental engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration. "When he fell over his arms were all white. He was burned really bad."

She said the man thanked people who helped put the fire out before being rushed by helicopter to a hospital.

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NBC News' Simon Moya-Smith and Reuters contributed to this report.