Sir Salman Rushdie suffered “life-changing” injuries when he was stabbed but has “been able to say a few words” and has retained his “usual crazy and defiant humour”, his son has said.
The 75-year-old author was taken to hospital and underwent hours of surgery afterwards the attack on stage in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday.
His son Zafar Rushdie said Sir Salman remained in a “critical condition” but was taken off the ventilator on Saturday.
“Although his life-changing injuries are serious, his usual cheeky and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” he said in a statement.
Sir Salman was stabbed about 12 times, including in the face and neck, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office said.
One of the wounds in the facial area led to a puncture in the eye. Another, to the stomach, caused a puncture of the author’s liver.
There were also stab wounds in the abdomen and chest area.
Full statement by Zafar Rushdie
Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in a critical condition in hospital and is receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment.
We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and extra oxygen and that he was able to say a few words.
Although his life-changing injuries are serious, his usual cheeky and defiant sense of humor remains intact.
We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely jumped to his defense and provided first aid along with the police and doctors who attended to him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world.
We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family gathers at his bedside to support and help him through this time.
Earlier on Sunday, in an update on his condition, his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that Sir Salman had been taken off the ventilator, saying: “The road to recovery has begun.
“It will be a long time, the injuries are serious, but his condition is moving in the right direction.”
In a speech at Chautauqua on Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Holchul condemned the attack as “cowardly” and added: “A man with a knife cannot silence a man with a pen.”
On Saturday, suspect pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.
Hadi Matar24, appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, handcuffed in front of him.
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Sir Salman, who lives in New York City and became a US citizen in 2016, was to speak with Henry Reese, of the City of Asylum organisation, a residency program for writers living in exile under threat of persecution.
They were expected to discuss America’s role as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for creative expression.
He was being introduced at the Chautauqua Institution when a man stormed the stage and began stabbing him.
He fell to the floor as the suspect was pinned down by members of the public and staff.
Holchul, who met some of them on Sunday, said she could still see the trauma and pain on their faces.
“They are trying to figure out how something like this could happen,” she added.
The satanic verses
Sir Salman’s book The Satanic Verses was banned in 1988 in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Iran, after it was considered by some to contain blasphemous passages.
In 1989, Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death.
The author lived in exile for years, but told a German magazine earlier this month he believed his life had returned to being “relatively normal”.