President Lech Kaczynski and scores of other eminent Poles have been killed after the president's plane crashed at Smolensk airport in Russia.
Polish and Russian officials said no-one survived after the plane apparently hit trees as it approached Smolensk airport in thick fog.
As news came through of the disaster, staff at the presidential palace gathered to pay their respects to the dead.
There was also an outpouring of grief among ordinary Poles for Mr Kaczynski and the other victims of the crash.
Members of the Polish government stood for a minute's silence to remember their colleagues - killed in what Prime Minister Donald Tusk described as the most tragic event in Poland's post-war history.
Mr Kaczynski and other government figures were flying to Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when the Soviets killed thousands of Poles. Mr Tusk had attended a memorial ceremony earlier in the week.
Lech Kaczynski (left) was a controversial figure in Polish politics. At one point, he was president while his twin, Jaroslaw, was prime minister.
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