Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed today as his hometown fell to the one-time rebels who ousted him, ending the last vestiges of control for the man once hailed as the "king of kings of Africa."
Here's a running account of the day's developments. The times, which indicate when each update was filed, are local in Libya unless otherwise noted. Libyan time is two hours ahead of GMT and six hours ahead of EDT.
Through the day, startling images continued to emerge from in and around Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, where the former strongman made his last stand.
Beyond those of Gadhafi in captivity and being harried by revolutionary fighters, and those of his bloodied corpse, other pictures showed the wreckage of burnt vehicles from a convoy of pro-Gadhafi fighters who had been trying to flee. They got only as far as the edge of town. In another, a man displayed a worn, golden revolver he said belonged to the fallen dictator - an artifact from a bygone time.
Moammar Gadhafi's death removes a threat to the stability of global oil markets.
Though it will be months before Libya can export as much oil as it did before it descended into civil war, the former dictator's demise reduces the chance that violence will get in the way as Libya cranks up production again.
As Libyan crude returns, it could lower the price of oil on the international markets and gasoline at American pumps.
Still, getting back to regular oil production could prove difficult for Libya. Its government is still in its infancy and infighting could spark a second uprising similar to the insurgency in Iraq.
"Certainly, having Gadhafi no longer on the scene takes away one source of instability. We just think the bigger problem might be the 'game of thrones' between various factions within the rebel ranks," says Barclays Capital analyst Helima Croft.
Gadhafi was wanted dead or alive — and opinion is mixed on which was preferable.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said his country had wanted Gadhafi "captured alive so that he could be brought to justice."
But some suggested that Gadhafi's death worked to greater effect. Shashank Joshi, of London's Royal United Services Institute, said that "a trial would have been an opportunity for him to grandstand. So in some ways, his death is more cathartic."
Outside the Libyan Embassy in London, demonstrators chanted and wept with joy.
"I was crying, I was shouting, I was smiling," said Najwa Creui, a 40-year-old teacher who has lived in Britain for the past 16 years. "It's the day Libyans have been waiting for as long as I have been alive."
During an afternoon Rose Garden address, President Obama spoke directly to Libya's revolutionary rulers and to its people in urging a smooth transition to fair, free elections.
"You have won your revolution," Obama said. "One of the world's longest-serving dictators is no more.
"The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility."
Vice President Joe Biden says he sees useful lessons in how the U.S. and NATO prosecuted the Libyan mission.
"In this case, America spent $2 billion total and didn't lose a single life. This is more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past," Biden said during a speech in Plymouth, N.H.
With confused and sometimes conflicting accounts swirling about Libya, Amnesty International is urging revolutionary fighters to make public the full facts of how Gadhafi met his end.
The London-based rights group says it is essential to conduct "a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish the circumstances of Col. Gadhafi's death."
The group also is calling on the new government to treat all members of the former regime humanely.
Gadhafi's death is this year's latest foreign policy victory for the Obama administration, including the killing of Osama bin Laden and the recent strike against a radical U.S.-born cleric in Yemen.
While the U.S. briefly took the lead in the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, America quickly took a secondary role to its allies. Obama said the joint international effort showed what can be achieved by collective action
A diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said the operation could wind up in the next day or two if NATO commanders confirm there's no need for it to continue.
BREAKING: Diplomats say NATO will decide Friday to end the aerial campaign over Libya.
"We want him alive! We want him alive!" one man shouts in video footage of fighters pulling a wounded Gadhafi toward an ambulance by the hair.
Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.
Gadhafi's death is a major boost for the men who once called themselves rebels and are now leading Libya.
The transitional government got more support today from the Vatican. After weeks of contacts with the new leadership, a Vatican statement says "the Holy See considers it the legitimate representation of the Libyan people, conforming to international law."
Many backers of the one-time rebels say they will need all the support they can get.
"This is only the end of the beginning of the road ahead for Libya and its people," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. A U.N. Security Council resolution authorized airstrikes to protect civilians from Gadhafi's regime and led to the NATO campaign that helped push him from power.
Gadhafi is the first strongman killed by his people in this year's uprisings in the Arab world.
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former leader of Tunisia, fled to Saudi Arabia and was tried in absentia in his homeland. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on trial now. Bashar Assad and Ali Abdullah Saleh are still clinging to power in Syria and Yemen despite daily protests against their regimes.
One comparison might be former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was found in hiding by U.S. troops. Saddam was tried and hanged by the Iraqi government. Gadhafi's only daughter, Aisha, was a lawyer who helped in Saddam's unsuccessful legal defense.
BREAKING: Obama says Gadhafi's death "marks the end of a long and painful chapter" for Libya, adding that the world can say definitively that Gadhafi's regime has come to an end.
New details are emerging from Gadhafi's last hours, including some that appear contradictory:
Most accounts agree Gadhafi had been holed up with armed supporters in the last few buildings held by loyalists in his hometown, furiously battling advancing revolutionary fighters.
At one point, an 80-vehicle convoy tried to flee the city and was hit by French warplanes, the French government says. The strikes stopped the convoy but did not destroy it, and then revolutionary fighters moved in on the vehicle carrying Gadhafi himself.
Fathi Bashaga, a spoksman for the anti-Gadhafi fighters, says they found Gadhafi wounded in the neck in one vehicle and took him to an ambulance. The former leader bled to death a half-hour later, Bashaga said.
Al-Jazeera television is showing that Gadhafi was captured wounded but alive in Sirte.
The goateed, balding Gadhafi, in a blood-soaked shirt and with a bloodied face, is seen being pushed along by fighters, and he appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting. The fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck before dragging him away, apparently toward an ambulance.
Amnesty International is calling for an inquiry into Gadhafi's death.
BREAKING: French defense chief says a French fighter jet fired on the convoy carrying Moammar Gadhafi.
BREAKING: Libyan information minister says Gadhafi's son Muatassim was killed in Sirte.
BREAKING: Clinton says if true, Gadhafi's death is a "new opportunity for Libya to move forward."
BREAKING: Libyan minister says Gadhafi son and one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam is wounded and in a hospital.
"I'm just going to go out and buy an expensive bottle of champagne to celebrate," says Susan Cohen, who said she's waited for this day since shortly after her 20-year-old daughter was killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, allegedly at Gadhafi's behest.
Many victims were Americans from New Jersey and New York flying home for the holidays.
"This was sort of like Dracula: Is Dracula really dead?" asked Cohen, of Cape May Court House, N.J.
"It's great now that we know. I didn't want him to go to a trial. When you have a tyrant, a monster like him, we're all better off with him dead. Now there can be no illusion of him ever returning to power."
BREAKING: President Barack Obama will make a statement at the White House about the killing of Gadhafi at 2 p.m. EDT.
BREAKING: Video on Arab TV stations shows Moammar Gadhafi was captured alive and wounded.
The price of oil is falling after Gadhafi's death, although it will take months for Libya's oil industry to recover from the months of fighting, and for the full impact to be felt on world markets. Oil fell 33 cents to $85.28 per barrel in New York today.
Hillary Rodham Clinton learned about reports of Gadhafi's death today in Kabul, between interviews with television networks.
Television crews kept the cameras rolling between takes. At one point, Clinton's assistant, Huma Abedine, handed her a BlackBerry to show her the report.
"Wow. Huh," Clinton said. "Unconfirmed."
She noted there had been similar reports in the past and handed the phone back, unaware cameras were rolling. Normally the moments between interviews aren't aired, but network producers apparently decided to go with it.
The bodies of suspected Gadhafi loyalists were outside storm drains where Gadhafi was reportedly found in Sirte. The concrete walls of the drains are spray-painted with graffiti and the earth around them is dry.
In the early days of the revolt against him, Gadhafi promised to fight until "the last bullet."
In 1998, 400 Libyan children were infected with HIV at a hospital in Benghazi. The Gadhafi regime accused five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor of deliberately infecting the children.
The medics were arrested, tortured into confessions and eventually sentenced to death, though international experts blamed unhygienic conditions at the hospital for the infections.
After years of wrangling with Europe, Libya released the six in 2007 and they flew to Bulgaria, retracting their confessions.
One of the Bulgarians, Zdravko Georgiev, said Gadhafi's death was not enough:
"Why should I be satisfied? No one will give me back the years spent in prison or undo the tortures sustained."
Britain's jets and helicopters backed the rebels during the NATO campaign, and the government today promised assistance to Libya's new leaders.
"Today is a day to remember all of Gadhafi's victims," British Prime Minister David Cameron said, referring to those in Libya and also the 270 people — mainly British and American — killed in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The only person charged in the bombing, former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, was freed from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 because of illness. He remains alive and in Libya.
Gadhafi's bloodied body was loaded on top of a vehicle and taken to Misrata, a city that was besieged for months by his forces. A large crowd surrounding the vehicle chanted, "The blood of the martyrs will not go in vain."
Russia's presidential envoy to Libya warned that Gadhafi's death may not end the fighting in Libya.
"Today's problem of Libya is not the problem of Gadhafi's life or death," Mikhail Margelov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "This is a problem of consolidating fragmented Libyan society and of strengthening the armed forces."
Initial reports from fighters said Gadhafi was holed up with the remnants of his forces in the last few buildings they held in Sirte. At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was blasted by NATO airstrikes. It's not clear if Gadhafi died there or in the buildings.
The Transitional National Council informed the U.S. of Gadhafi's death minutes before Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril's announcement. Reaction from the White House and the U.N. secretary-general are expected shortly.
BREAKING: Libya's prime minister says Moammar Gadhafi has been killed.
U.S. official: Libyan leaders have informed the U.S. that Gadhafi is dead.
Al-Jazeera TV is airing shaky footage of a man resembling Gadhafi lying dead or badly wounded, bleeding from the head and stripped to the waist as fighters roll him over on the pavement.
The White House isn't saying much about developments in Libya while U.S. officials await more word. But even before confirmation, Sen. John McCain called it "an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution."
He said the U.S. and NATO should continue support for Libya. The U.S. led the start of the NATO air campaign that bolstered the rebel forces in the early days.
Tomorrow marks two months since Tripoli fell to the rebels and Gadhafi disappeared from his compound in the capital. At the time, their transitional government said they dedicated a special unit of crack fighters to track him down.
There have been rumors of Gadhafi's whereabouts for weeks — some said he was in neighboring Niger or Algeria, some said he could be in a bunker deep beneath Tripoli.
Today in Niger, Aghaly Alambo, a native of Niger who became a part of Gadhafi's inner circle, said he was watching TV and following the developments closely, but his own sources in Libya had not yet been able to confirm the reports of Gahdafi's capture.
Libyan officials are calling a news conference in Tripoli with Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of the transitional government and the highest-ranking official in the capital now. It's scheduled to begin in 15 minutes.
There are celebrations in the streets in Tripoli as reports spread of Gadhafi's capture or possible death. The transitional government summoned journalists more than an hour ago for an imminent news conference, but they still haven't made an official announcement.
In Sirte, fighters who have battled for months to seize control of the country from Gadhafi's forces embraced in the streets and chanted. "The war, it's finished," one fighter said.
A spokesman for Libya's transitional government says Gadhafi has been captured and possibly killed in the fall of his hometown. Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says he expects the prime minister to make an announcement in an hour or so. Past reports of Gadhafi's death or capture have been wrong.
NATO confirms they've hit a convoy of Gadhafi loyalists fleeing Sirte, and Libyan fighters say they captured the ousted leader.
White House officials are monitoring the reports of Gadhafi's capture and death but say they can't confirm anything. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was just in Libya yesterday and said then she hoped for his demise. She also offered U.S. aid to the interim government.
Libyan officials and NATO say they can't confirm reports that Gadhafi was captured or killed today when his hometown fell.
12:36 p.m.Comment on this story
Discarded military uniforms of Gadhafi's forces are in the streets. One fighter climbed a traffic light, kissed the revolution's flag then unfurled it.
"The city has been liberated," says Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya's interim government. The Libyan fighters were seen beating captured Gadhafi men in the back of trucks, with officers trying to stop them.
Gadhafi's hometown, Sirte, has fallen to the rebels. Our reporter in the city says Libyan fighters are searching homes and buildings looking for any Gadhafi loyalists who might be hiding.