Acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said that he had been shot in the head in an exchange between Gaddafi loyalists and National Transitional Council fighters. He confirmed that Col Gaddafi, who had been taken alive, had died before reaching hospital.
NATO’s governing body, meeting in the coming hours, is likely to declare an end to its Libyan bombing campaign.
Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that with the death of Col Gaddafi “that moment has now moved much closer”.
He said that “After 42 years, Col Gaddafi’s rule of fear has finally come to an end. I call on all Libyans to put aside their differences and work together to build a brighter future.”
Wild scenes of celebration sustained late into the night in towns and cities across Libya at news of the colonel’s death.
Groups of young men fired guns in the air and drivers honked their horns in celebration. In the capital, Tripoli, cars blocked the city centre.