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Pope John Paul II Crucifix Falls, Crushes Man to Death

A giant crucifix dedicated to Pope John Paul II collapsed, killing a 21-year-old student, in Cevo, Italy, on April 24, 2014. Venezia-Fotogramma / Ropi via Zuma Press

A man was crushed to death when a giant crucifix dedicated to Pope John Paul II collapsed and fell on him, ITV News reports. The accident came just days before a historic canonization that will see the late pope declared a saint.

The 98-foot-high wooden and concrete cross fell during a ceremony in the Italian Alpine village of Cevo on Thursday, killing 21-year-old student Marco Gusmini. Another man was taken to hospital.

The structure was dedicated to John Paul II on his visit to the region in 1998.

— ITV News is NBC News' U.K. partner