The Swedish artist, who had been forced to live under police protection since 2007 after his sketch of the Prophet Mohammed carried death threats with a dog’s corpse, was reportedly killed in a traffic accident on Monday morning (October 4th).
Lars Vilks, largely unknown outside Sweden prior to the infamous drawing, was reportedly killed when a truck collided with a civilian police car in which he and his protection were traveling, news media said.
Swedish news agency TT said the police had confirmed the 75-year-old was in the car with two police officers, and the newspaper Today’s news said the artist’s partner has confirmed his death.
The cause of the collision is being investigated.
Vilks’ life changed dramatically 13 years ago after introducing Mohammed to a dog’s corpse. Dogs are viewed as unclean by conservative Muslims, and Islamic law generally rejects any representation of the Prophet, even if it is favorable, for fear that it could lead to idolatry.
Al Qaeda then put a bounty on him, and in 2010 two men tried to burn down his house in the south of the country. Meanwhile, last year a Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty to killing him.
The artist was largely unknown outside of his home country. At home, he was best known for building a sculpture out of driftwood in a nature reserve in southern Sweden without a permit, which led to a protracted legal battle.
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