Pope John Paul II Crucifix Falls, Crushes Man to Death

A giant cross devoted to Pope John Paul II has collapsed killing a 21-year-old student while he was taking a hike with friends in Cevo, Italy. 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