10/20/11 (AEIN) Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi died on Thursday in the coastal city of Sirte after being fired upon by rebel forces, according to a report from the BBC. The rebels were aided by a NATO airstrike which hit a convoy of men defending the former leader.
Following the reports of Gadhafi's death, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged all Libyans to put aside weapons and peacefully cooperate to rebuild the country, where many cities and towns have been severely damaged by ground fighting and NATO bombs.
The rebel Transitional National Council government declared victory the same day, having taken control of the entire country. Heavy fighting had continued in Bani Walid and Sirte for much of the week; armed clashes also broke out in the capitol days earlier.
Gadhafi came to power in a bloodless coup in 1969, according to the Information Please almanac. He led an authoritarian government which cracked down on opponents but also carried out major infrastructure projects and worked to reverse desertification.