The mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk has died after being knifed in the chest during a charity concert, the country’s health minister has confirmed.
Pawel Adamowicz was taking part in an event organised by the Great Orchestra of Christmas charity last night when the assailant rushed onto the stage and stabbed him.
The attacker, a 27-year-old man identified only as Stefan W., then grabbed the microphone to claim he was “wrongly jailed by the previous centrist government of the Civic Platform (PO)”, the mayor’s former party, France24 reports.
The Guardian reports that Adamowicz was “resuscitated at the scene and rushed to a nearby hospital where he underwent surgery” lasting five hours.
But despite the best efforts of doctors, the 53-year-old died in hospital from his injuries this morning.
“We couldn’t win,” said Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski.
The vicious attack on Adamowicz, Gdansk’s mayor for 20 years, has stunned the city’s residents.
Last night, hundreds” responded to a call from local authorities to give blood for the mayor, who required massive transfusions, says CNN. Photos posted on social media showed people “lining up” to donate.
Adamowicz “will be remembered as a progressive voice in the country, and for his staunch support of LGBT rights, immigrants, and minority groups”, says CNN.
However, tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), said he felt “great pain for the tragic death” and sent a message of “solidarity” to Adamowicz’s family, The Independent reports.
The knifeman, who was quickly subdued at the scene by security staff, remains in the custody of police, who say he has a criminal record for bank robbery and other violent crimes.