cnn.comSTOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh has died after being stabbed by an unidentified man at a Stockholm department store Wednesday.
Lindh, 46, was stabbed several times in the chest, stomach and arms while shopping around 4 p.m. at the upscale NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) store.
"I have received with sorrow information that Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh died this morning at 5.29 a.m. of her wounds," Prime Minister Goeran Persso told a news conference Thursday.
She died after undergoing surgery for more than 10 hours at Karolinska Hospital, Persso said.
Lindh, an outspoken campaigner for Sweden to join the euro in a referendum Sunday, was attacked just blocks from parliament.
Authorities said they did not think the stabbing was politically motivated.
"It feels strange and it's difficult to understand," Persso said, adding that the Scandinavian country's tradition of openness was damaged by the killing.
"The attack against her also hurt the society we've built up and in which we want to live in," he said.
It wasn't known if Sunday's referendum vote on the euro would be delayed.
Jan Larssen, a government spokesman, said late Wednesday the "issue had been raised" but added it would be a "very big, complicated project to move an election day."
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Lindh's death was "a terrible tragedy."
"This is an appalling event. Anna was a good friend of mine," he told reporters Thursday.
"She was someone who was full of life.... She represented everything that was wonderful about Sweden and about Europe."
Police in Sweden said a search was being carried out throughout Stockholm for the alleged attacker. The knife was recovered at the store, AP reported Wednesday.
Hanna Sundberg, who was shopping at the store, said she saw a man chase Lindh up an escalator from the basement.
"She laid on the floor and it looked as if a tall man, wearing a peaked cap, was hitting her," she told AP. "But when he ran away, he threw away a knife."
Sundberg said Lindh told her: "God, he has stabbed me in the stomach!" Then, Sundberg said she saw blood.
Like most politicians and officials in Sweden, Lindh traveled without a bodyguard, Grenfors said.
Lindh, one of the country's most admired politicians and No. 3 in the government, had been mentioned as a possible successor to the prime minister.
Lisa Grensfors, of Swedish television, said Lindh's death was a great shock.
"It will be a long time until Sweden recovers from this. She was very respected," she told CNN.
A member of the Social Democrats, Lindh had headed the Foreign Ministry since 1998. She was a member of the Riksdag, or parliament, from 1982-85. She was married and had two children.
Sweden, a Scandinavian country of nine million, had a reputation as being relatively safe, although Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986. His attacker has never been caught.
"For the Swedish people it brings back all the old horrible memories of ... Palme. It might mean Swedish politicians need security guards everywhere they go from now on," Reuters quoted Green Party leader Peter Eriksson as saying.
"I sincerely hope it doesn't lead to that."