STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Foreign Minister Anna Lindh (search), the victim of a shocking stabbing attack, was an outspoken human rights advocate who was touted by many in Sweden as a likely candidate for prime minister someday.
Lindh, who was stabbed multiple times in a downtown Stockholm department store, died Thursday after more than 10 hours in surgery. She suffered severe internal bleeding and injuries to her liver and stomach, doctors said.
"Anna Lindh has left us. The family has lost a mother and wife. Social Democracy has lost one of its most skillful politicians," an emotional Prime Minister Goeran Persson said. "The government has lost a competent politician and a good working colleague. Sweden has lost its face against the world."
For Swedes, her death rekindled memories of the Feb. 28, 1986, murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme (search), who was killed while walking home from a movie theater with his wife. Like Lindh, he had no bodyguards. His murder remain unsolved.
One of the Scandinavian country's most popular politicians, Lindh was a top member of the ruling Social Democratic party (search). She also was one of the Swedish government's leading figures in the campaign to persuade the country's 9 million residents to adopt the euro.
Persson tapped her to lead the Foreign Ministry in 1998, and Lindh moved quickly to put her stamp on the position.
She was outspoken on several international issues, voicing her opposition to the recent war in Iraq and urging the Israelis and Palestinians to both stop their violence and start negotiating.
Lindh also garnered a reputation as a fierce and dedicated proponent of human rights.
Earlier this year, she chided President Bush as a "lone ranger" for his decision to unilaterally invade Iraq without U.N. approval.
But she also sometimes recognized the need for force, telling members of the Swedish Riksdag, or parliament, in January the threat of military action was needed to pressure Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. resolutions to disarm.
"It is also to erode the U.N.'s power ... if one says, 'no, the U.N. can never use military action,' because then we weaken the U.N. and in this case we make it more difficult for a peaceful solution," she said.
Born in the Stockholm suburb of Enskede in 1957, Lindh became a lawyer with a reputation for preserving the environment.
She rose to prominence in Sweden's long-dominant Social Democratic Party and served as chairman of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth from 1984-1990. She was a member of parliament from 1982-1985 and was appointed foreign minister when the Social Democrats regained power in 1994.
She is survived by her husband, Bo Holmberg, a local politician, and two children.
Funeral arrangements were not announced, but churches were to be kept open in many parts of the country and a memorial service was scheduled Thursday night in a cathedral in the university town of Uppsala, just north of Stockholm.