Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1957 or 1958. He was the 17th of 52 children born to Mohammed bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant who owned the largest construction company in the Saudi kingdom. All pics/AFP
In the late 1970s, he became a follower of the radical pan-Islamist scholar Abdullah Azzam, who believed that all Muslims should rise up in jihad, or holy war, to create a single Islamic state.
For bin Laden, Islam was more than a religion that shaped his political beliefs
By 1993, Osama had formed a secret network known as al Qaeda which comprised of militant Muslims he had met while serving in Afghanistan. Soldiers were recruited for their ability to listen, their good manners, obedience, and their pledge to follow their superiors
Osama bin Laden is believed to be responsible for many deadly acts of terrorism, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
He had been on the FBIâs 'most wanted' list for more than a decade.
This undated video grab shows Saudi-born alleged terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden speaking at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan from a video said to have been prepared by bin Laden himself.
Copies of the tape, which shows him as well as al-Qaeda guerrilla fighters training at al-Faruq camp in Afghanistan, have been circulated to a limited number of Islamists. Bin Laden is America's prime suspect behind the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In 1994, the Saudi government forced Osama to relinquish his Saudi citizenship, and confiscated his passport. His family also disowned him, cutting off his $7 million yearly stipend.
By 2001, Osama had attempted, and often successfully executed attacks on several countries using the help of Al Qaeda trained terrorists and his seemingly bottomless financial resources
Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, after a raid at the Al Qaeda founder's residence compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan by US Navy Seal commandos.
A picture taken on May 9, 2011 shows what is believed to be the building where the ancestral family of Al-Qaeda network's founder Osama bin Laden lived in Rabat Ba Ashan in the southern Yemeni province of Hadramawt. While bin Laden's ancestral homeland of Yemen hailed his death, his acolytes in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country called it a "catastrophe" and vowed to keep up jihad, or Islamic holy war.