The “heir to Pavarotti” succumbed to head injuries sustained in a road accident.

The opera world is in mourning for Salvatore Licitra, who has died from cranial injuries after a severe scooter crash in Sicily on August 27.

The 43-year-old tenor was driving without a helmet and searching for a parking space when he lost control of his Vespa. His girlfried, who was his passenger at the time of the accident, escaped with minor injuries.

He was flown by helicopter to Sicily’s Garibaldi di Catania hospital for emergency surgery, entering into a coma from which he never recovered.

“Salvatore Licitra did not make it,” a statement on his official website confirmed. “The doctors have declared him brain dead.” His family have agreed to his organs being transplanted, the statement added.

Born in Switzerland to Italian parents, Licitra specialised in Italian bel canto. In 2002 he stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti at the Metropolitan Opera in Puccini’s Tosca and was instantly hailed his successor.

Dividing his time between Lugano in Italy and New York, he was a keen motorcyclist and compared the sound of a finely-tuned engine to “a beautiful  Do di petto” (a high chest C).

His recorded legacy includes a complete Toscaand Verdi’s Il Trovatorefrom La Scala and...