Swedish Artist Who Survived Murder Attempts After Controversial Drawing of Prophet Muhammad Dies in Mystery Car Crash

The two police officers in charge of the artist's protection were also killed in the accident.

As Swedish artist who survived two murder attempts after drawing a cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad has died in a horror car crash.

Lars Vilks, 75, was killed on Sunday when the police car he was traveling in veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with a truck, becoming wedged underneath it. Both vehicles caught fire and the truck driver, 45, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The two police officers who were tasked with protecting Vilks also died in the accident, according to Swedish news outlet Expressen. The crash, which took place just before 3 pm in the Swedish province of Kronoberg, is now being investigated by the special prosecutor's office.

Larks Vilks
Larks Vilks (left) and an image from the crash shared on social media. Twitter

Vilks Survived Two Murder Attempts After Drawing the Prophet with a Dog's Body

Vilks received death threats and survived several murder attempts after drawing the Prophet Muhammad's head on a dog's body in 2007. In September 2007, Vilks had a $100,000 bounty placed on his head by an al-Qaida faction in Iraq in response to his drawings.

In 2010, Swedish newspapers reprinted the controversial cartoon after two Muslim men were arrested and subsequently charged in the Republic of Ireland in connection with an alleged plot to murder Vilks. Since then, he has been living under police protection.

In 2015, lone gunman Omar El-Hussein fired shots at the front of the Krudttonden cafe where Mr Vilks was taking part in a debate on free speech during the Copenhagen terror attack. In 2013, an American woman who called herself Jihad Jane was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to kill him.

Foul Play Suspected?

"With the information I have now, it indicates that it is an accident. But the investigation is at a very early stage,"Anders Jakobsson, head of the special prosecutor's office, said.

Police spokesman Rickard Lundqvist said, "I can not say at the moment if there are any criminal suspicions." The truck driver was airlifted to hospital by helicopter, where he will be questioned by police over what happened.

According to Expressen, the rescue service and the police said it would take a lot for a vehicle to be able to pass into the other lane, given that it is separated by a wire fence. The section of the road has reportedly been rebuilt several times in recent years to improve traffic safety.