- Lars Vilks got death threats for drawing the Prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body in 2007.
- Vilks was placed under police protection, but his home was firebombed and he was attacked in 2010.
- He was killed in Sweden on Sunday after a truck smashed into the police car carrying him.
A Swedish artist famous for a work depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body has been killed in a traffic crash, according to reports.
Lars Vilks was put under police protection in 2007 after he received death threats for publishing the drawing. At the time, Al Qaeda put a $100,000 bounty on his head and his house was fire-bombed.
Police in Sweden are investigating the details of the crash, and have said that so far they have found no evidence that it was intentional.
Any depiction of Muhammad is considered offensive in Islam, and cartoons showing him have prompted violent backlashes before. Some conservative Muslims also consider dogs unclean, so especially offensive.
Vilks, 75, was killed alongside two police chaperones when a truck smashed into a police car carrying him in the town of Markaryd, where he lived, on Sunday, Reuters reported.
“This is a very tragic incident. It is now important to all of us that we do everything we can to investigate what happened and what caused the collision,” Swedish police said Monday, per Reuters.
“Initially, there is nothing that points to anyone else being involved.”
At the time of the drawing’s publication, Vilks said he didn’t intend to offend Muslims, but that he wanted to make a statement about political correctness.
“That’s a way of expressing things. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. And if you look at it, don’t take it too seriously. No harm done, really,” he said, according to CNN.
Defending himself further, Vilks noted that he had also depicted Jesus as a pedophile.
Vilks has lived a fairly public life despite the threats made against him, which has occasionally put him in danger.
In 2010, police deployed tear gas after a group of protesters attacked Vilks as he gave a lecture at Uppsala University and, in 2015, one person was shot dead at a free-speech event hosted by Vilks at a cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark.