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Cartoonist Luz leaves Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo's leading artist has resigned his post. Renald Luzier said the pressure of continuing without his slain colleagues has become "too much to bear."

Cartoonist Renald Luzier, known simply as Luz, announced on Tuesday that he will leave French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying he can no long bear the emotional burden. In an interview with Liberation, the French daily which has housed Charlie Hebdo since the January attacks, Luz said he was "no longer interested in returning to normal life as a news cartoonist."

Luz, a survivor of the attack that left 12 of his colleagues dead by Islamist extremists, also cited media scrutiny as part of his decision for leaving, as well as fear of being targeted again by terrorists and work pressures.

"The time came when it was just all too much to bear. There was next to nobody to draw the cartoons. I ended up doing three or every four front-pages. Every print-run was torture because the others are no longer there," said the cartoonist, who lives under police protection like the other survivors of the attack.

"Each issue is torture because the others are gone. Spending sleepless nights summoning the dead, wondering what Charb, Cabu, Honore, Tignous would have done is exhausting," Luz said, referencing the cartoonists killed on January 7.

'All is forgiven'

The extremists targeted the magazine because of its repeated depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, something forbidden by Islam. Luz had previously said he would stop drawing Muhammad because it no longer interested him as material.

Luz created the cover for

the first issue after the attacks

- a picture of the prophet with a sign saying "Je Suis Charlie" or “I am Charlie" under the words "All is forgiven".

Renald Luzier joined Charlie Hebdo in 1992, and had become the star artist for the magazine in the months following the attacks. He will cease working with the publication in September.

es/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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