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The mother of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski finally learns of son's tragic death

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — For six weeks, the mother of the late president, Lech Kaczynski, lay critically ill in a Warsaw hospital with no idea that her son died in a plane crash in Russia.

But the late president's twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, finally broke the news to her on Tuesday, a blow that came as a huge shock to the 83-year-old woman, according to Elzbieta Jakubiak, a close aide to Jaroslaw.

"This was the most difficult moment in Jaroslaw Kaczynski's life," Jakubiak said in an interview late Tuesday on the all-news station TVN24. "I really feel for him today. And yet at the same time, I also think this is a relief for him."

Jaroslaw Kaczynski did not speak publicly himself about the matter, and Jakubiak said she didn't have many more details because the family was spending time together in private.

Though Jaroslaw, 60, is now running for the presidency in his brother's place, he remains deep in mourning and has made only rare public appearances since declaring his candidacy in late April. Voting is to take place June 20.

The news was reported in Polish papers on Wednesday, which is Mother's Day in Poland. The daily Fakt tabloid said that until getting the news, the mother "was possibly the only person in Poland not to know about the tragic death of the president."

Jadwiga Kaczynska has been critically ill for many weeks and just after Kaczynski was killed in the plane crash, doctors advised the family to spare her the news until she was better. She has been hospitalized with lung and heart problems, spending some time on a respirator and suffering sepsis. Lech Kaczynski, in the weeks before his death, canceled foreign trips to be by her side.

Kaczynski died April 10 along with his wife and 94 others, including some of the country's highest civilian and military leaders. It was the worst tragedy to strike Poland since World War II.