Celebrities and world leaders voiced their shock on social media as author Salman Rushdie fights for his life on a ventilator after he was stabbed on Friday.
The 75-year-old writer was attacked on stage at a literary event in upstate New York and will likely lose one of his eyes as a result of the unexpected attack.
Rushdie’s alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, NJ, was arrested at the scene by a state trooper who was assigned to the lecture.
President Joe Biden led tributes as he issued a White House statement after learning that Rushdie is in critical condition.
“Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie,” the POTUS said in a statement. “This act of violence is appalling.”
“All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery. We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr. Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing.”
Echoing Biden’s sentiment, the outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to Twitter to voice his concerns over the attack.
“Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend,” Johnson, who is set to officially step down as Prime Minister next month, tweeted.
“Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also paid his respects on Twitter, writing, “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism.
“He has just been the victim of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism. His fight is our fight; it is universal. Now more than ever, we stand by his side.”
Celebrities and other members of the literary world also rushed to social media to voice their concerns while sending well-wishes to the author.
“Such shocking news of Salman Rushdie having been stabbed,” celebrity food writer Nigella Lawson tweeted. “This is horrific. Am distraught. Please, please let him be ok.”
Horror writer Stephen King also expressed his concern, tweeting, “I hope Salman Rushdie is okay.”
“What kind of asshat stabs a writer, anyway? F–ker,” King added in a follow-up tweet.
Author of the “Harry Potter” franchise, JK Rowling, tweeted, “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.”
Author of the DC Comics series “The Sandman,” Neil Gaiman, said he was “distressed” to see the news about his “friend.”
“He’s a good man and a brilliant one and I hope he’s okay,” Gaiman tweeted.
Author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, also condemned the attack.
“I’m utterly horrified by the cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie. I pray for his recovery. He is an essential voice and cannot be silenced,” he tweeted.
Rushdie’s publisher Penguin Random House issued a statement.
“We are deeply shocked and appalled to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie while he was speaking at the Chautauqua Institution in New York,” CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement.
“We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time.”