According to The Associated Press, New York State police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, 24. He was arrested at the scene. No motive has been identified.
The AP also said that Rushdie sustained a damaged liver, severed nerves in one of his arms and may lose an eye due to the attack.
WPXI reporter David Johnson, who witnessed the attack, said Rushdie had just taken his seat on a stage at the Chautauqua Institution when a man attacked him. Reports of the incident began to surface on social media around 11 a.m. EDT.
“We were just stunned,” Johnson said in a social media post. “It was surreal.”
Authorities said a man attacked Rushdie and an interviewer, identified by the Chautauqua Institute as Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum. Rushdie was taken by helicopter to a hospital after the incident, and his condition was not immediately known. Police said Reese suffered a minor head injury.
A state trooper working at the event took the suspected assailant into custody immediately after the stabbing, authorities said.
In a statement, officials with the Chautauqua Institution asked for prayers for Rushdie and Reese. They said all cultural center’s programs were canceled for the remainder of Friday.
In a statement, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she directed state police to assist in the investigation into Friday’s attack.
Multiple threats have been made against Rushdie’s life since 1988, when his book “The Satanic Verses” was first published in the United Kingdom, according to BBC News and The Guardian. Iran has offered a $3 million reward for anyone who kills him, according to The Washington Post.
Rushdie, who has penned 14 novels, four non-fiction books and a collection of short stories, was scheduled to speak Friday at the Chautauqua Institution as part of the Chautauqua Lecture Series.
Check back for more on this developing story.
Writer Salman Rushdie, circa 1980, France. (Photo by Micheline PELLETIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
FRANCE – MARCH 19: Salman Rushdie In Paris On March 19th, 1993. (Photo by Gilles BASSIGNAC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Salman Rushdie.1995 (Photo by Lull/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
393902 17: Writer Salman Rushdie, who is this year’s honorary "guest director," introduces a screening of The Golden Fortress at the 28th Telluride Film Festival September 2, 2001 in Telluride, CO. The film buff and award-winning author may be best known for his controversial book, The Satanic Verses, for which the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued the fatwa, or religious edict, in February 1989, condemning Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy against Islam. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Author Salman Rushdie (L) and his girlfriend Padma Lakshmi attend a show featuring the Luca Luca Fall/Winter 2002 Fashion Collection February 12, 2002 during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2002 in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 29: Author Salman Rushdie (L) and former Congresswomen Patricia Schroeder hold stacks of petitions he delivered to Congress on Capitol Hill, September 29, 2004 in Washington DC. The petitions were gathered in bookstores and libraries throughout the country protesting the Patriot Act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 21: Actor Robert Deniro speaks with writer Salman Rushdie during the13th Annual MusiCares Person Of The Year tribute at the Marriott Marquis February 21, 2003 in New York City. Grammy winning artist Bono will be honored for his musical and humanitarian accomplishments. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Salman Rushdie and wife actress Padma Lakshmi attend the "MTV Party" during the 57th Annual International Cannes Film festival at the MTV Villa on May 15, 2004 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – OCTOBER 16: Writer Salman Rushdie speaks at The 2009 New Yorker Festival: Fiction Night at DGA on October 16, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 04: Author Salman Rushdie attends the "To India With Love: From New York To Mumbai" book launch at The Pierre Hotel on November 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 13: Author Salman Rushdie attends the BFI pre-opening Gala Dinner hosted Greg Dyke during the 54th BFI London Film Festival at Asia de Cuba on October 13, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 09: Director Deepa Mehta (L) and writer Salman Rushdie arrive at the "Midnight’s Children" Premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 9, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 14: Salman Rushdie attends the premiere of ‘Midnight’s Children’ during the 56th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon West End on October 14, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 05: Novelist Salman Rushdie attends the Gucci and The Cinema Society screening of "Oz the Great and Powerful" at the DGA Theater on March 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 14: Salman Rushdie attends the public memorial held for Lou Reed at Lincoln Center on November 14, 2013 in New York City. Lincoln Center played Reed’s music, as well as the music of his band, The Velvet Underground, for the public to hear for three hours. Reed died of liver disease on October 27, 2013. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 13: Author Salman Rushdie attends the press conference of the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) on October 13, 2015 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The fair, which is among the world’s largest book fairs, will be open to the public from October 13-18. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Author Salman Rushdie at the Blue Sofa at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) on October 12, 2017 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The 2017 fair, which is among the world’s largest book fairs, will be open to the public from October 11-15. (Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)