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Salman Rushdie’s ‘Feisty & Defiant’ Sense of Humor Remain Despite ‘Life Changing Injuries,’ His Son Reports

Zafar Rushdie shared his gratitude to the audience who administered first aid at the scene

Salman Rushdie remains in critical condition and in the intensive care unit of a western New York State hospital, but has remained “feisty” and kept his sense of humor, his son Zafar reported in a tweet Sunday.

“Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment. We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and he was able to say a few words,” Rushdie began.

“Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humor remains intact. We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defence [sic] and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world. We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family come together at his bedside to support and help him through this time.”

The “Satanic Verses” author was attached Friday at Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was to deliver a lecture about the United States being a safe haven for exiled writers when a man rushed the stage and began to stab him repeatedly in the neck and abdomen. He was airlifted to a hospital in Pennsylvania, where he underwent emergency surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, told the New York Times Friday night that Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak.

Wylie added, “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”

Suspect Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, was detained on the scene of the attack and formally charged him with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree. Matar pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Saturday and is being held without bail at Chautauqua County Jail.

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