Libya's ousted leader had been on the run since National Transitional Council (NTC) forces captured the capital Tripoli and forced him to flee in August.

Gaddafi had vowed to die defending his country and railed against NATO's attacks that helped boost the military campaign against his regime. Below are reactions from world leaders to his death.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon

This day marks a historic transition for Libya. In the coming days, we will witness scenes of celebration as well as grief for those who lost so much. Now is the time for all Libyans to come together. Libyans can only realise the promise of the future for national unity and reconciliation. Combatants on all sides must lay down their arms in peace. This is the time for healing and rebuilding, for generosity of spirit, not for revenge.

US president Barack Obama

For four decades, the Gaddafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist. Their human rights were denied. Innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed. Libya's wealth was squandered and enormous potential of Libyan people was held back and terror was used as a political weapon. Today we can definitively say that the Gaddafi regime has come to an end.

The European Union

The death of Gaddafi marks the end of an era of despotism, said Herman Van Rompuy, the bloc's president. That Gaddafi died in a raid in Sirte means an end also to the repression from which the Libyan people have suffered for too long.

British prime minister David Cameron

People in Libya today have an even greater chance after this news of building themselves a strong and democratic future.

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi

Now the war is over. Sic transit gloria mundi [Thus passes the glory of the world]

French president Nicolas Sarkozy

The disappearance of Muammar Gaddafi is a major step forward in the battle fought for more than eight months by the Libyan people to liberate themselves from the dictatorial and violent regime imposed on them for more than 40 years.

German chancellor Angela Merkel

With this, a bloody war comes to an end, which Gaddafi led against his own people. Libya must now quickly take further resolute steps towards democracy and make the achievments so far of the Arab Spring irreversible.

The African Union

The Union said it had lifted its suspension of Libya's membership and said in a statement it would authorise the current authorities in Libya to occupy the seat of Libya in the AU and its organs.

US senator John McCain

The United States, along with our European allies and Arab partners, must now deepen our support for the Libyan people, as they work to make the next phase of their democratic revolution as successful as the fight to free their country.

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress

Libyans are safer now after Gaddafi's death and the Arab world is breaking free. But never celebrate death of anyone, even bad people.

Source: Agencies