Danish cartoonist whose depiction of Prophet Mohammed sparked outrage dies aged 86

Danish cartoonist whose depiction of Prophet Mohammed sparked outrage culminating in Charlie Hebdo massacre, dies aged 86 after long illness

  • Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has died aged 86 after a long illness
  • Westergaard generated outrage in the Islamic world with depiction of Mohammed

The Danish cartoonist whose portrayal of the prophet Mohammed sparked outrage in the Muslim world has died aged 86.

Kurt Westergaard died in his sleep after a long period of ill health, his family told Berlingske newspaper.

The illustrator was behind 12 drawings published by the conservative Jyllands-Posten newspaper under the headline ‘The Face of Mohammed’, one of which was particularly infuriating.

The cartoons initially went almost unnoticed, but after two weeks a demonstration against them was held in Copenhagen, after which ambassadors from Muslim countries in Denmark protested.

The anger then escalated to anti-Danish violence in the Muslim world in February 2006.

The violence linked to the cartoons culminated in a 2015 massacre that killed 12 people at the Parisian satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had reprinted the cartoons in 2012.

Westergaard had worked at Jyllands-Posten as an illustrator since the mid-1980s, and according to Berlingske, the drawing in question had been printed once before, but without causing much controversy.

In the last years of his life, Westergaard, like a number of others involved in the cartoons, had to live under police protection at a secret address.

In early 2010, Danish police caught a 28-year-old Somali armed with a knife at Westergaard’s home, where he planned to kill him.