Divisive Swedish caricaturist dies in road accident
Stockholm, Oct 04: The Swedish artist Lars Vilks, known for a controversial sketch of the Prophet Muhammad, died in a traffic accident Sunday, Swedish media reported.
Vilks had lived under police protection after receiving death threats for drawing the Islamic prophet with a dog's body in 2007.
Two police officers who were traveling with him at the time were also killed.
What we know about the accident
The accident took place in the afternoon while the car was traveling on the E4 highway near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden.
A truck reportedly broke through the dividing guardrail before hitting the civilian police car in which Vilks and his police protection were traveling.
The newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that the artist's partner confirmed his death.
Authorities ruled out an attack on Vilks, AFP news agency reported, but the cause of the accident was under investigation "as with every road traffic accident."
The truck driver was taken to the hospital.
"It's very sad that the person who we wanted to protect died in this tragedy, along with two colleagues," Carina Persson, head of the regional police said.
Who was Lars Vilks?
The 75-year-old was largely unknown outside Sweden before his Muhammad drawing.
At home, he was best known for building a sculpture made of driftwood in a nature reserve in southern Sweden without permission, triggering a lengthy legal battle.
But his life changed radically 13 years ago after he drew a sketch of Muhammad with a dog's body. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet.
Al-Qaeda put a bounty on Vilks' head. In 2010, two men tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden. In 2020, a woman from Pennsylvania in the US pleaded guilty in a plot to try to kill him.