Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who was living under police protection after his portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in 2007 prompted death threats, died Sunday in a car accident.
The 75-year-old man and two policemen were killed in a collision with an oncoming truck, Swedish police confirmed to AFP.
“This is being investigated like any other traffic accident. Because two police officers were involved, an investigation has been assigned to a special section of the Prosecutor’s Office, “a police spokesman told AFP, adding that there were no suspicions of foul play.
The accident occurred near the small town of Markaryd when the car Vilks was traveling in crashed into an oncoming truck. Both vehicles caught fire and the truck driver was hospitalized, according to police.
In a statement, police said the cause of the accident was unclear.
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“The person we were protecting and two colleagues died in this inconceivable and terribly sad tragedy,” said regional police chief Carina Persson.
Vilks had been under police protection since his 2007 cartoon of Muhammad with the body of a dog sparked outrage among those who view depictions of the Muslim prophet as deeply offensive or blasphemous.
Al-Qaeda offered a $ 100,000 reward for the murder of Vilks.
The representation also sparked diplomatic friction, with then-Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt meeting with ambassadors from several Muslim countries to ease tensions.
In 2015, Vilks survived a firearms attack at a freedom of expression conference in Copenhagen that left a Danish film director dead.