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Swedish artist who drew anger for 2007 Islamic cartoon killed in car wreck

Swedish artist who drew anger for 2007 Islamic cartoon killed in car wreck
Swedish artist Lars Vilks died in a vehicle crash in southern Sweden on Sunday, police said. Investigators said it does not appear to be the result of a criminal act. File Photo by Bjorn Lindgren/EPA-EFE

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who drew anger and threats of violence for a 2007 cartoon that depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog, was killed in a car crash over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Vilks died Sunday when the vehicle he was riding in crashed in southern Sweden. Two police bodyguards also died, officials said.

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Police said the vehicle crashed into an oncoming truck and both caught fire near the town of Markaryd. The cause is under investigation.

Officials said the driver of the truck was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Investigators said at a briefing Monday that it doesn't appear that the crash resulted from any criminal activity. They said they're looking into the possibility that a tire on one of the vehicles blew.

Vilks, 75, drew controversy and anger worldwide for his cartoon, which featured the prophet Muhammad's head on a dog's body. The outcry effectively forced him into hiding and he eventually required police protection.

Vilks was targeted by a number of acts of violence in the years that followed. In 2015, one person was killed by gunfire in an assassination attempt aimed at Vilks at an art event in Denmark.

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Terrorist group al-Qaida once offered a $100,000 reward for the cartoonist's assassination.

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