Salman Rushdie’s ‘fiery and provocative’ humor remains intact, says his son

Salman Rushdie is still in critical condition, but his usual fiery and provocative sense of humor remains intact, his son has said, as the Mumbai-born author battles serious life-changing injuries.

Rushdie, 75, was taken off a ventilator Saturday and was able to speak after being stabbed on stage at a literary event in New York State on Friday.

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His son, Zafar Rushdie, said Sunday the family was “extremely relieved” the best-selling author was taken off the ventilator and supplemental oxygen on Saturday and was able to say a few words.

“Following Friday’s attack, my father remains in critical condition in hospital and is receiving intensive medical care,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Although his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual fiery and provocative sense of humor remains intact,” he said.

The family expressed their gratitude to members of the public who bravely stood up for Rushdie and administered first aid after he was stabbed multiple times at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York.

The family thanked the police and doctors for their care. They also expressed their gratitude for the “outpouring of love and support from around the world”. “We ask for patience and privacy as the family gathers at his bedside to support him and help him through this time,” the statement read.

Earlier, Rushdie’s ex-wife and famous TV personality, Padma Lakshmi, said in a tweet: “Relieved @SalmanRushdie is doing fine after nightmare on Friday. Worried and dumb, can finally exhale. Hopefully now Chennai-born Rushdie and Lakshmi married in 2004 and divorced in 2007. Lakshmi, 51, who is herself an author and host of the hit cooking show TopChef, was the fourth wife of Rushdie.

The New York Times reported that Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said: ‘The road to recovery has begun. It will be long; the injuries are serious, but his condition is heading in the right direction.

Rushdie, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing “satanic verseswas stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar, the American national of Lebanese descent, on stage Friday while being featured at a Chautauqua Institution literary event in western New York.

Rushdie was put on a ventilator after being stabbed by Matar.

Earlier on Saturday, Matar pleaded not guilty to the charges of attempted murder and assault in a brief court appearance during which he was denied bail.

Matar was charged with attempted murder and assault in Rushdie’s stabbing and he pleaded not guilty. He appeared in court wearing a black and white striped jumpsuit and handcuffed.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt provided details of Rushdie’s injuries in court during Matar’s arraignment on Saturday.

The author’s injuries include three stab wounds to the right side of the front of the neck, four stab wounds to the stomach, a puncture to the right eye and chest and a laceration to the right thigh, according to the county attorney.

“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr. Rushdie,” Schmidt alleged.

Matar faces up to 32 years if convicted on both counts, Schmidt said.

Rushdie lived in hiding and under police protection for years after the late Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death in retaliation for his book The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie, the author of 14 novels, was knighted in 2007 for his services to literature.

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