Salman Rushdie taken off ventilator and recovering after stabbing
The renowned author, 75, has been taken off a ventilator and is on the mend, his son Zafar Rushdie said in a statement shared Sunday. "We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and he was able to say a few words."
"Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact," the statement continued. "We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defense and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world."
Rushdie remains in critical condition as he continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries, which include a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye. Rushdie's agent Andrew Wylie said he is likely to lose an eye after the attack that occurred at Chautauqua Institution on Friday. A man identified as Hadi Matar, 24, rushed the stage and stabbed Rushdie 10 times.
Matar, who was arrested at the scene, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault in what prosecutors have called a preplanned crime. "This was a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack on Mr. Rushdie," District Attorney Jason Schmidt said, according to AP, citing the steps that Matar took to obtain an advanced pass to the event, including bearing a fake ID.
Though Matar's motives remain unclear at this time, Rushdie has been the subject of death threats for over three decades stemming from his book, The Satanic Verses. The novel inspired by Islamic prophet Muhammad was banned in Iran in 1988 and deemed blasphemous ideology, resulting in Iran's late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini setting a $3 million reward for Rushdie's death. While threats have lessened since Khomeini's death, Rushdie opposition still remains.
On Sunday, Top Chef host and author Padma Lakshmi, who was previously married to Rushdie, expressed relief that her ex-husband is on the mend. "Relieved @SalmanRushdie is pulling through after Friday's nightmare," she tweeted. "Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for swift healing."