British author Salman Rushdie, whose writings made him the target of death threats, has undergone emergency surgery after an assailant stabbed him in the neck at a literary event in New York state.
Police said that a male suspect stormed the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer on Friday, with the writer suffering "an apparent stab wound to the neck."
He was rushed by helicopter to a local hospital, police said. New York governor Kathy Hochul said Rushdie was alive.
Rushdie will likely lose an eye and suffered severed nerves in an arm and damage to his liver, his agent said, adding that Rushdie was on a ventilator.
"The news is not good. Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged," Andrew Wylie said in a written statement.
A state trooper assigned to the event at the Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was due to give a talk, immediately took the suspect into custody.
Police identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey. He was arrested at the scene and was awaiting arraignment. State police Major Eugene J Staniszewski said the motive for the stabbing was unclear.
Iranian award for killing Rushdie
Rushdie is the author of several novels that won widespread acclaim, including Midnight's Children, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.
Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses" has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous.
A year later, Iran's late Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.
A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.
Iran's government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered.
In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.
Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was "no evidence" of people being interested in the reward.
That year, Rushdie published a memoir, "Joseph Anton," about the fatwa.