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Spanish tourist dies when stone falls from basilica 

A 52-year-old tourist was killed in front of his wife when a huge piece of marble plummeted nearly 90ft from a famous Italian church.

The victim, who was Spanish and was on holiday, was looking round the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Florence when the freak accident happened.

Italian newspaper Corriere Fiorentino says the stone was part of a beam or column which crashed from the roof. It measured about 40 centimetres square.

The emergency services rushed to the scene but there was nothing they could do to save his life. His wife needed medical treatment for severe shock.

Initial findings suggest the stone probably came away because of progressive deterioration and its heavy weight.

A tour guide told El Confidential: “I was 15 metres from the place where it happened. I was explaining the ins and outs of Michelangelo’s tomb when I saw something fall. Then I heard the rumble and a woman began to shout.”

The church was built at the end of the 13th century and houses the tombs of famous historical figures such asMichelangelo, Galileo Galilei and Nicolás Machiavelli.

The mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, tweeted: “I am very sorry for the incident in the Basilica of Santa Croce, where the Spanish tourist lost his life.”