Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer and the only person convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, died at his home in Tripoli on Sunday after a protracted battle against cancer.
His death, announced by his brother Abdulhakim, brought down the curtain on one of the most controversial episodes in the West’s relations with the erstwhile Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi.
Megrahi (60,) who had terminal prostate cancer, was released from a Scottish jail in 2009 on compassionate grounds sparking fury across the Atlantic amid allegations that he was released under a secret oil deal with Libya.
Families of the victims of the Lockerbie crash called it an “insult” to their feelings and a “mockery of the rule of law”.
Scenes of Meghrahi receiving a “hero's welcome” when he landed in Tripoli after his release were condemned by politicians in London and Washington.
After the fall of the Qadhafi administration last summer, there were calls for Megrahi to be returned to the United Kingdom or tried in the U.S.
Megrahi was jailed for life for his role in planting a bomb on a Pan Am plane which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988 in what is regarded as the deadliest terrorist incident ever to have taken place on British soil.
At the time of his release, he was given two months to live but when he outlived that prognosis it revived claims that the decision to set him free was prompted by political and commercial considerations.
Both Libya and Britain have denied the allegations and the Scottish government insists it took the decision purely on humanitarian grounds.
Megrahi always protested his innocence claiming that the circumstantial evidence in a special court in the Netherlands that found him guilty was planted.
An appeal against his conviction was due to be heard when he was released.
Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died at Lockerbie, and who has always believed that Megrahi was made a “fall guy”, called his death a “very sad event”. “Right up to the end he was determined, for his family’s sake... [that] the verdict against him should be overturned,” he said.