Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has died at the age of 86, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday.
He died peacefully after a long illness, Danish newspaper Berlingske reported, citing his family.
Danish broadcaster TV2 cited the former editor of Jyllands-Posten confirming Westergaard's death, while Danish public broadcaster DR also cited one of his longtime friends.
Westergaard became known globally in 2005 when a series of his cartoons of the prophet Mohammed published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper sparked Denmark's biggest foreign policy crisis since the end of World War Two.
Four months after the publication, they became the basis of protests in some Muslim countries. Some of the demonstrations became violent.
Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked and dozens of people died.
The cartoon controversy also led to diplomatic disagreements between Denmark and various other countries.
We mourn the loss of Danish cartoonist Kurt #Westergaard,who died on 14 July 2021 at the age of 86th.He received the #M100MediaAward in 2010 in recognition of his unwavering commitment to freedom of speech and expression. Our thoughts are with his wife Gitte & his family&friends. pic.twitter.com/1ucfw8s9Xi— M100 Sanssouci Colloquium (@M100Colloquium) July 18, 2021
Freedom of expression
The events led to debate about the limits of freedom of expression and religion in the country and beyond.
Westergaard was one of several cartoonists who responded to a callout from Jyllands-Posten. But his depiction of Mohammed was met with the greatest outrage from Muslims.
It showed the prophet wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb.
Westergaard, a teacher who had worked for the conservative Danish newspaper since the 1980s, had to be accompanied by bodyguards from then on.
In 2010, he narrowly escaped an attack by a 28-year-old man who broke into his house with an axe.