The Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who drew a weeping Prophet Mohamed on the first cover after the massacre at its offices is leaving the magazine.
“Luz”, full name Renald Luzier, has worked there since 1992 but said his job has become “too much to bear” since 11 of his colleagues were murdered.
Stephane Charbonnier (Charb), Jean Cabut (Cabu) and Bernard Verlhac (Tignous) were among the cartoonists shot dead by the Kouachi brothers during their rampage in January.
The Islamists and an accomplice who launched related attacks in Paris were among the 20 people who died in three days of shootings and hostage crises.
Luz told France’s Libération newspaper that he still spends sleepless nights thinking about his missing friends, wondering what they would be doing.
“Each issue is torture because the others are gone,” he added.
The cartoonist said he did not allow himself time to properly grieve after the massacre, continuing working because there was a “collective will” to defy the attackers and produce another edition.
Luz added: “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down.”
He has already told his colleagues that he will resign and intends to leave in September.
The magazine produced days after the attack carried the headline “all is forgiven” above Luz's drawing of Mohamed holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie”, the phrase used around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo.
The cover sparked angry protests in several countries for its depiction of the Muslim Prophet – one of the reasons it was targeted by the extremists.
Luz announced last month that he would stop drawing images of Mohamed, saying: “It no longer interests me.”
He told Libération that he has found media attention since the attack “very difficult”.
“We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he added.
“Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.
“At Charlie we are no longer the only ones to do it and, being modest, perhaps that is not a bad thing.
“In a few months, I will not be Charlie Hebdo anymore but I will always be Charlie.”
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