OSAMA bin Laden is dead and his body has been recovered by US authorities.
The al Qaeda leader was killed on Sunday in a firefight with US forces in Pakistan, President Barack Obama said this morning.
"Justice has been done," Mr Obama said in a dramatic White House speech announcing the death of the elusive mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
"I can report to the American people and to the world that the US has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
"A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties."
Mr Obama spoke to former presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton before announcing bin Laden's death.
It is a major accomplishment for Mr Obama and his national security team, after many Americans had given up hope of ever finding bin Laden.
A crowd gathered outside the White House to celebrate, chanting "USA, USA."
George W Bush had repeatedly vowed to bring bin Laden to justice "dead or alive" for the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.
US officials said the Saudi-born extremist was killed in the Pakistani town of Abbotabad and his body recovered.
Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.
He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.
The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.
While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.
Besides 9/11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks -- including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.
George W Bush said the death of the al Qaeda leader was a "momentous achievement".
"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron said news of bin Laden's death would "bring great relief to people across the world".