STOCKHOLM – Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who caused worldwide controversy in 2007 with drawings depicting the prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog, was killed in a car accident near the southern town of Markaryd on Sunday, police said.
The 75-year-old Vilks, who had been under police protection since the drawings were published, was in a police vehicle that collided with a truck. Two policemen were also killed.
“This is a very tragic incident. It is now important for all of us that we do everything in our power to investigate what happened and what caused the collision, ”Swedish police said in a statement on Monday.
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“At first there is nothing to suggest that someone else is involved.”
Most Muslims find any portrayal of the founder of Islam offensive.
Since the cartoons were released, Vilks has lived under police surveillance around the clock after threats against his life. A bounty was placed on his head and his house was set on fire.
In 2015, in Copenhagen, Denmark, a person was killed at a meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of an Iranian fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie that Vilks attended.
Vilks was widely regarded as the intended target.
Vilks had said that the cartoons were not intended to provoke Muslims, but rather to challenge political correctness in the art world.