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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 January, 2005, 15:22 GMT
Italian dies in 'Romeo' tragedy
A husband in Italy who lost hope of his wife waking from a four-month coma has killed himself - only for his beloved to regain consciousness hours later.

Doctors said when Rossana, 67, stirred, she asked for her husband Ettore.

The tragedy, recalling the ending of Romeo and Juliet, took place in Padua, 60km (40 miles) from Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's play.

Ettore, 71, had kept a daily vigil at Rossana's side after she had a stroke and fell into a coma in September.

Italian media report that he would visit his wife daily, sometimes coming to the hospital in the northern town as many as four times a day.

But on Wednesday, Ettore committed suicide by gassing himself in the garage of the couple's Padua home.

About 12 hours later, Rossana, a former nurse, emerged from the coma and asked for her husband.

Ettore had recently told the local pastor that he was very pessimistic about the prospects of his wife's recovery, Italian news agency Ansa reports. The couple had no children.

In Shakespeare's play, Juliet drinks a potion in order to appear dead as part of a plan to elope with Romeo.

Unaware of this, Romeo, believing she is dead, kills himself. Juliet awakens and, seeing Romeo dead, stabs herself.

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