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Salman Rushdie 'Will Likely Lose One Eye' as He's Put on Ventilator After Stabbing Attack

People logo People 8/13/2022 Glenn Garner

David Levenson/Getty © Provided by People David Levenson/Getty

Salman Rushdie is facing a grim recovery.

The renowned author, 75, has been placed on a ventilator and cannot speak, his literary agent Andrew Wylie told The New York Times in an update on his condition after he was attacked and stabbed on stage Friday during a literary festival at New York's Chautauqua Institution.

"The news is not good," said Wiley. "Salman will likely lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged."

A rep for Rushdie did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Rushdie was stabbed "at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen," New York State Police said in a news conference, after a man, later identified by police as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, rushed the lecture stage and attacked the Satanic Verses author and Ralph Henry Reese, who sustained a minor head injury. Rushdie was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

RELATED: Salman Rushdie Attacked on Stage in New York

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Video: Author Salman Rushdie attacked (Sky News)

New York State Police took Matar into custody after the attack, according to the Associated Press. Investigating with the FBI and the local sheriff's office, authorities requested a search warrant for a backpack and electronic devices found at the Chautauqua Institution.

Author Carl LeVan described the scene on Twitter, noting that Rushdie "was stabbed multiple times before [the] attacker was subdued by security" and the audience was evacuated.

Although Rushdie has received much acclaim for his work, including a Booker Prize for his 1981 novel Midnight's Children, the Indian-British writer rose to prominence when his 1989 book The Satanic Verses was deemed as blasphemy by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

RELATED VIDEO: Salman Rushdie Attacked on Stage in New York

The novel, which featured a fictional interpretation of the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran, drew backlash from the Muslim community. Khomeini, who died later in 1989, per the Los Angeles Times subsequently issued a fatwā (a ruling on Islamic law) for his assassination, offering a bounty for whoever kills him.

Rushdie went into hiding for nearly a decade until the Iranian government said in 1998 that it would no longer enforce the fatwā, although it remained active.

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Rushdie is the former president of PEN America. In a statement after the attack, CEO Suzanne Nossel said, "PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at the word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie."

"We can think of no comparable incident of a public attack on a literary writer on American soil," the statement continued.

The statement ended by offering well-wishes to Rushdie: "Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced."

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