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Mayor Of Polish City Dies After Being Stabbed On Stage

The mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk has died in hospital after he was stabbed at a charity event. 

Pawel Adamowicz, 53, was at the Great Orchestra of Christmas event on Sunday (local time) when he was attacked by a man who rushed onstage.

He was taken to hospital with stab injuries and underwent five hours of surgery, according to state news agency PAP.

"We couldn't win," Poland's health minister Lukasz Szumowski told reporters.

Thousands have attended vigils across the country on Monday mourning the popular politician who was an opponent of PiS, a national conservative political party in Poland.

Throughout his six-term tenure, Adamowicz had been known for his vigorous defence of migrants and refugees as well as LGBTQ rights.

He also supported a protest campaign against what activists considered efforts by the PiS to increase its control over the judiciary, among other bodies.

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Moments before the attack, Adamowicz shared a photo on social media showing crowds holding lights at the annual fundraiser.

"In my heart, Gdansk occupies the first place. I want a modern, fair, friendly and open Gdasnk ... where everyone lives well, works, develops and brings up children," he wrote on Facebook.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have condemned the stabbing, with President Andrzej Duda describing the attack as an "evil hard to imagine".

He said the day of the politician's funeral would be a national day of mourning.

Polish President Andrzej Duda (R) with his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (L) attend a special mass to commemorate killed Mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz in Warsaw. Image: AAP

The suspect has been identified by Polish media as a 27-year-old man from Gdansk, named Stefan, who has a long criminal record, most recently an attempted bank robbery.

Speaking on stage before he was arrested, the man accused the mayor's former party Civic Platform of wrongfully imprisoning him, where he alleged he had been tortured.

Psychiatrists will assess if the suspect can be held criminally responsible for his actions, prosecutor Krysztof Sierak told reporters.

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au

Featured image: AAP