Introduced as "leader of the revolution, the president of the African Union, the king of kings of Africa," Gadhafi railed and raged for 90 minutes, instead of the allotted 15. He ripped up a copy of the U.N. charter, demanded investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and compared the U.N. Security Council to al Qaeda.
But it was the Arab Spring that led to be Gadhafi's downfall. In February 2011, the anti-government protests roiling the Arab world spread to Libya with a Day of Rage challenging his rule. More than 40 years of anger and resentment exploded in demonstrations across the country.
When the protests morphed into an uprising, Gadhafi responded with extreme force. As Gadhafi's forces closed in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of force to protect civilians. And on March 19, U.S. and European forces intervened, launching missiles and dropping bombs to assist the rebels.
The tide turned. In August, Gadhafi fled Tripoli as rebel forces closed in. After 42 years, his reign was over. But the wily leader's whereabouts remained a mystery for months as the remnants of his security forces fought off rebels closing in on his strongholds.
At the time of his death, Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and his chief of intelligence were wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity for the killing, wounding and imprisonment of civilians during the early stages of Libya's uprising.