Polish mayor stabbed on stage during charity event dies

Doctors said Pawel Adamowicz underwent five hours of surgery

Polish mayor stabbed on stage during charity event dies

Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz (far right) speaks to an audience moments before he was stabbed in Gdansk, Poland | Image: Anna Rezulak/AP/Press Association Images

A mayor in Poland, who was stabbed on stage at a charity event on Sunday, has died.

Pawel Adamowicz, who was the mayor of Gdansk, was attacked in front of hundreds of people in the city during an event in aid of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity.

Doctors said he underwent five hours of surgery for wounds to his heart and abdomen.

However he passed away on Monday afternoon.

His official Twitter account confirmed the news:

The suspected attacker, a 27-year-old with a criminal record, has been arrested.

Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said the attacker appeared to have mental health problems and gained access to the stage with a media badge.

According to Polish broadcaster TVN, the suspect shouted from the stage and claimed that he had been wrongly imprisoned by the previous government.

Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski said the attack on the 53-year-old mayor was an act of "inexcusable barbarity".

European Council President Donald Tusk earlier tweeted a message of support to Mr Adamowicz, saying "let's all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawel, we are with you".

Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, tweeted: "The attack on life and health of Pawel Adamowicz is worthy of the highest condemnation."

Moments before the incident, Mr Adamowicz posted a photo of the view from the stage to his Instagram account.

The picture showed a sea of audience members holding up bright white lights during the 'Lights To Heaven' event which raised money for medical equipment for Poland's healthcare system.

View this post on Instagram

Swiatelko do nieba tuz tuz. #swiatelkodonieba #wosp2019 #wosp #adamowicz #owsiak #jurekowsiak??#gdanskdlaorkiestry

A post shared by Pawel Adamowicz (@adamowiczpawel) on

The politician had been Gdansk's mayor for more than 20 years and is part of the democratic opposition which started in the city under Lech Walsea in the 1980s.

He had been seen as a progressive voice in the country, supporting LGBT rights and tolerance for minority groups.

Poland's President, Andrzej Duda, said despite their political differences he was "unconditionally with him and his loved ones, just as - I hope - all of us compatriots are".