Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET.
The mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, has died after he was stabbed in the heart, the Polish Press Agency reports.
Adamowicz was attacked in front of a crowd of thousands at a Warsaw concert for charity. The suspected attacker, a 27-year-old man, reportedly shouted that he stabbed Adamowicz for political revenge.
The attacker ran onto the stage with a knife and stabbed Adamowicz in the heart and abdomen, The Associated Press reports. Adamowicz grabbed his stomach and collapsed. He was resuscitated and rushed to a hospital where he underwent five hours of surgery before he succumbed to his wounds.
The suspected assailant, whom police did not name by time of publication, turned to the crowd after the stabbing and said he had been wrongly imprisoned under a previous national government that Adamowicz had belonged to, the AP said. “I was jailed but innocent,” the attacker said. “Civic Platform tortured me. That’s why Adamowicz just died.” Police said the suspect had recently served a sentence for bank robberies. He gained access to the stage with a media badge, police said.
Adamowicz, 53, had been speaking at the finale of the annual Great Orchestra of Christmas charity event, which raises money for medical equipment to treat sick children.
After doctors said Adamowicz needed a massive blood transfusion, hundreds of Polish donors came forward, according to Polish media. As of Monday morning Adamowicz had required 20 liters of blood. The nearby city of Lodz announced it would open additional blood donation centers. “We call on Lodz citizens to donate blood,” the city’s Deputy Mayor Adam Wieczorek said. “Let the blood flow from Lodz to Gdansk.”
“Today I am unconditionally with him and his loved ones, just as — I hope — all of his compatriots are,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda, according to the Independent. “I pray for his return to health and full strength.”
According to The Guardian, Adamowicz was known as a strong supporter of LGBT rights and the rights and refugees. He was part of the democratic opposition formed under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s, the AP reports.
“Sometimes it is a wild country,” said Jerzy Owsiak, president and founder of the charity. “Don’t go down that road. You can’t fight violence with violence. … Let’s be Poles who love one another.”