WARNING: Video of Muammar Qaddafi's death may be disturbing to some audiences.
News9.com and Associated Press
UPDATE: SIRTE, Libya -- Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled Libya with a dictatorial grip for 42 years until he was ousted by his own people in an uprising that turned into a bloody civil war, was killed Thursday when revolutionary forces overwhelmed his hometown, Sirte, the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.
The 69-year-old Qaddafi is the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings that swept the Middle East, demanding the end of autocratic rulers and greater democracy. Qaddafi had been one of the world's most mercurial leaders, dominating Libya with a regime that often seemed run by his whims and bringing international condemnation and isolation on his country for years.
"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qaddafi has been killed," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference in the capital Tripoli.
Initial reports from fighters said Qaddafi had been barricaded in with his heavily armed loyalists in the last few buildings they held in his Mediterranean coastal hometown of Sirte, furiously battling with revolutionary fighters closing in on them Thursday. At one point, a convoy tried to flee the area and was blasted by NATO air strikes, though it was not clear if Qaddafi was in the vehicles. Details of his death remained unverified.
Al-Jazeera TV showed footage of a man resembling the 69-year-old Qaddafi lying dead or severely wounded, bleeding from the head and stripped to the waist as fighters rolled him over on the pavement.
The body was then taken to the nearby city of Misrata, which Qaddafi's forces besieged for months in one of the bloodiest fronts of the civil war. Al-Arabiya TV showed footage of Qaddafi's bloodied body carried on the top of a vehicle surrounded by a large crowd chanting, "The blood of the martyrs will not go in vain."
Celebratory gunfire and cries of "Allahu Akbar" or "God is Great" rang out across the capital Tripoli. Cars honked their horns and people hugged each other. In Sirte, the ecstatic former rebels celebrated the city's fall after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.
UPDATE: WASHINGTON -- A U.S. official says Libya's new government has told the United States that Muammar Qaddafi is dead.
The official said Libya's Transitional National Council informed U.S. officials in Libya of the development Thursday.
The official said TNC chief Mahmoud Jibril was expected to officially announce Qaddafi's death soon.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the U.S. cannot independently confirm Qaddafi's death.
SIRTE, Libya -- There are unconfirmed reports fugitive dictator Muammar Qaddafi has died after being shot in his hometown of Sirte.
According to Reuters news agency, Abdel Majid with the National Transition Council said early Thursday morning Qaddafi was wounded and taken into custody while trying to flee from Libyan fighters. A few hours later, reports surfaced he'd died from those wounds.
The U.S. State Department could not confirm the reports.
NATO says it hit a convoy of Qaddafi's loyalists fleeing Sirte on Thursday morning but it could not confirm whether the ousted Libyan leader was in the convoy or possibly killed or captured.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says he has confirmed that Qaddafi was dead from fighters that said they saw the body. He says he expects the prime minister to confirm the death soon, noting that past reports emerged "before making 100 percent confirmation."
Libya's former rebels have previously claimed the capture of Qaddafi and his sons, only for those reports to turn out mistaken.