Gdańsk Mayor dies from knife wounds

2019-01-14 14:59 update: 2019-01-19, 10:45
Photo PAP/Adam Warżawa
Photo PAP/Adam Warżawa
Mayor of the northern Polish city of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz died in hospital on Monday afternoon from wounds suffered in a Sunday evening knife attack during a nationwide charity gala in Gdańsk.

The news about Adamowicz's death was announced by Tomasz Stefaniak, medical head at the city's Medical University Clinic where he was hospitalised after the attack with severe cardiac and abdominal injuries. During the night of Sunday to Monday Adamowicz underwent a 5-hour operation, after which doctors said that his condition was very unstable.

"It is with the utmost sorrow that we must inform you that we have lost our battle for the mayor's life. Mayor Adamowicz has died. Hail to his memory," Stefaniak said. He added that the circumstances of Adamowicz's death will be investigated by prosecutors.

Adamowicz's death was confirmed by Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski, who was present at the hospital during the announcement.

Later on Monday President Andrzej Duda announced that Adamowicz's funeral day will be a day of national mourning. He also spoke of his earlier proposal to organise a a march against violence and hatred in Gdańsk, which he presented at a meeting with political leaders shortly before the Gdańsk mayor's death.

Asked about the incident at a press briefing following the meeting, Duda said he felt personally affected by Adamowicz's death, and recalled how much the mayor had achieved for Gdańsk over the past 20 years. Duda also mentioned the tragic circumstances of his death, noting that it occurred during a charity event whose aim was "doing good."

"This is not only hard to accept, but most of all it's hard to understand. He was murdered by a criminal, someone who had recently left prison. He was murdered at a moment which had a special dimension. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is doubtless an element that rallies very, very many people, especially the young, around doing good together: collecting funds to aid children, to help Polish clinics and equip them better. (...) On that day, at that moment, there simply occurred unimaginable evil."

"I want to say that (...) I pray for his soul and his family, may they survive this incredibly difficult time," Duda said.

On Sunday evening Gdańsk Mayor Paweł Adamowicz was stabbed by a recently released convicted criminal who rushed onto the stage during the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity finale in Gdańsk. The mayor suffered severe cardiac and abdominal injuries. Doctors reanimated Adamowicz on the spot and then transported him to the Medical University of Gdańsk hospital, where he underwent five hours of surgery. (PAP)