Massive Blood Drive Organized for City Mayor Stabbed in Front of Huge Audience at Charity Event

Stabbing Poland Gdansk
A man is held on the ground by security personnel after he attacked the mayor of Gdansk during a charity event in Gdansk, Poland on January 13, 2019. PIOTR HUKALO/AFP/Getty Images

The residents of the major Polish city of Gdansk have come out in droves to donate blood to their mayor, who is fighting for his life after being stabbed repeatedly on stage during a large charity event Sunday.

Pawel Adamowicz, 53, the mayor of the northern city of Gdasnk, was attacked during the a fundraiser arranged by Poland's Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity named "Lights to Heaven," the Associated Press reported.

Read More: Man stabbed to death by teenager at Church of Scientology HQ

According to the AP, several residents queuing to donate their blood said they had even been given time off work to help save the long-time mayor.

Just before the stabbing, Adamowicz had been standing on stage as the show entered its finale, holding a sparkler as a pyrotechnic display erupted in front of the crowd. He had just praised the event, calling it a "wonderful day."

Suddenly, a man—described by the AP as a convicted criminal—rushed the stage and launched a frenzied stabbing attack on Adamowicz, who collapsed onto the ground.

While bystanders rushed to his aid, the attacker gestured produly to the crowd, raising his arms above his head and displaying the weapon. He reportedly shouted from the stage he had been falsely imprisoned while a previous government was in power, led by the Civic Platform party to which Adamowicz belonged until recently.

The man, who gave his name as Stefan, was detained and led from the stage. "I was jailed but innocent. ... Civic Platform tortured me. That's why Adamowicz just died," he said, according to the AP.

Police confirmed that the attacker was a convicted criminal, and said his record included bank robberies. Spokesperson Mariusz Ciarka explained the assailant gained access to the stage using a media badge and suggested he was mentally ill.

Adamowicz was resuscitated by doctors on the stage, and was then rushed to a nearby hospital. He survived five hours of emergency surgery but is still fighting for his life. A member of the treatment team, Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak, told reporters that the mayor remains "in a very serious condition."

According to the BBC, Stefaniak explained that the mayor had suffered very serious injuries to his abdominal area. He also noted that the victim received 41 units of blood

He called on Poles to dedicate their thoughts and prayers to Adamowicz, warning, "The next hours will decide everything."

Dr. Jerzy Karpinski, the head doctor of the Gdansk region, told reporters Monday that the mayor is a "relatively young, healthy person with no health issues" and thus he was hopeful he would survive. He suggested the situation would become clearer within the next 20 hours.

Adamowicz is originally from Gdansk and has served as the city's mayor since 1998. His current term—his sixth—will run until 2023. He left Civic Platform and ran as an independent in his most recent electoral success.

He entered politics as a member of the democratic opposition to the ruling Communist party in the 1980s. According to the biography on his website, he helped organize student anti-government action in 1988, when the authoritarian government was beset by a series of nationwide strikes.

UPDATE: Poland's Health Minister, Lukasz Szumowski, said on Monday morning that Adamowicz died from the injuries suffered in Sunday's attack, despite the efforts to save his life. "We couldn't win," he told reporters, as he confirmed the death of the long-time mayor.