SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK: Despite all our efforts, we failed to save him,” Doctor Tomasz Stefaniak, director of Gdansk University hospital, told Polish media.

Anti-violence rallies are being planned nationwide after Sunday’s attack on Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, known for his liberal views and opposition to Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

European Council President Donald Tusk, tweeted that Adamowicz, “a man of Solidarity and freedom, a European, my good friend, has been murdered. May he rest in peace.” Tusk, a fellow Pole born in Gdansk, was the late mayor’s political ally.

“Goodbye Pawel, we’ll remember you,” Lech Walesa, Poland’s legendary anti-communist leader and another native of Gdansk, said on Twitter.

And Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also offered his condolences via Twitter. It was a “devastating loss” for all “who value public service, progressive policy and open, accessible to all democracy”, he wrote.

The 53-year-old Adamowicz had been in a critical condition with a serious wound to the heart and cuts to his diaphragm, and abdominal organs said the surgeons who operated on him for five hours.

Video footage showed the attacker, who police said was wearing a press badge, bursting on to the stage and launching himself at Adamowicz, as the mayor stood with others waving sparklers towards the end of Sunday evening’s fundraiser.

After knifing the mayor several times, the man turned to the crowd with his arms raised triumphantly before being tackled to the ground by security guards and arrested.