RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is in grave condition after being hospitalized from a stab wound, local media reported on Thursday.
Videos posted online showed Bolsonaro was being carried on his supporters' shoulders in a large crowd, when someone quickly stabbed him in the abdomen. Bolsonaro was then carried to safety, but appeared to be unconscious.
Police promptly arrested the suspect identified as 40-year-old Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, who was immediately grabbed by Bolsonaro's supporters.
According to local media, the attacker is an assiduous Bible reader and has a history of family violence. His Facebook page is full of criticism of Bolsonaro and other politicians, and also conspiracy theories.
There were conflicting reports as to the seriousness of the injury.
National news network Globo reported Bolsonaro required emergency surgery, while his son, Flavio, a candidate for the Brazilian senate, originally said on Twitter that his father's wounds were "only superficial."
Flavio has since called on supporters to pray for his father.
"Unfortunately it was more serious than we had expected. The perforation reached the liver, lungs and intestines. He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital ... almost died. His condition now seems stabilized," he said.
The medical team who attended to Bolsonaro gave a press conference on Thursday evening. According to surgeon Luiz Henrique Borsato, Bolsonaro had abdominal trauma and was in shock when admitted to the hospital.
Borsato said the candidate had extensive internal hemorrhaging, which was stanched in the surgery. He had three perforations on the small intestines and one in the colon, the doctor said, but no injuries in the lung or liver as was rumored earlier.
Because of the injuries to the intestines, Bolsonaro underwent a colostomy, a procedure to insert a colostomy bag, which temporarily collects the feces of the patient while the intestines heal. He will have to use the bag for a couple of months, the doctors said.
Brazilian President Michel Temer described the attack as "intolerable."
The other presidential hopefuls expressed their shock at the attack on Bolsonaro, who leads with some 20-percent support among 12 candidates, according to polls.
Up to last week, ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was leading with some 30-percent support, but election authorities disqualified him from running due to his conviction of corruption charges.
Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party called the attack "barbaric," and said that he rejects "violence as a political language and is in solidarity with his opponent."
Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party, who was Lula's running mate and a substitute candidate, said he opposes "any act of violence."
Meanwhile, Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party said "politics is made with dialogue and conversation, not hate ... any acts of violence are deplorable."
The attack against Bolsonaro "represents a double attack against his physical integrity and against democracy," said Marina Silva of the Brazilian Sustainability Network.
It remains unclear how the attack will affect the race, but his survival could increase his popularity, according to experts.