A Tunisian cigarette vendor who set himself ablaze in a busy street of the capital Tunis a day earlier has died under hospital care, a medical official has said.

Adel Khadri, 27, died on Wednesday as a result of severe burns, Imed Toiuibi, the director of the Ben Arous Burns Centre, told the AFP news agency.

"This is a young man who sells cigarettes because of unemployment," Khadri shouted before immolating himself on Habib Bourguiba avenue.

Security forces and bystanders tried to extinguish the flames before the man was rushed to hospital, witnesses said.

Officials said Khadri hails from an extremely poor family in Jendouba in northwestern Tunisia.

Khaled Tarrouche, interior ministry spokesman, attributed Khadri's desperate action to his economic situation.

"He is unemployed and came to Tunis a few months ago. He was very fragile, psychologically broken, and that is why he set himself on fire."

Street vendors took to the streets after Khadri's death to express their dissatisfaction with the government.

In December 2010, street vendor Bouazizi died of his injuries after setting himself alight on December 17, 2010 in the town of Sidi Bouzid after a policewoman confiscated his fruit cart.

Bouazizi's fate sparked protests that ended with the overthrow of autocratic President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and inspired rebellions elsewhere in the Middle East.

Source: Agencies