The reported death of Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi "marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the Libyan people who now have an opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya," President Barack Obama said.
Responding to news out of Libya that the ousted leader had been killed, the president congratulated the Libyan people for triumphing over the dictator who'd ruled the North African country for over forty years.
"You've won your revolution," the president said. "And we'll be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity."
Qaddafi is said to have been killed in a gunbattle Thursday at his hometown of Surt.
"The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted," Obama said, while acknowledging there will be difficult days ahead as Libyans work to transition to post-Qaddafi rule.
"We look forward to the announcement of the country's liberation, the quick formation of an interim government and a stable transition to libya's first free and fair elections," the president said. "We call on our Libyan friends to continue to work with the international community to secure the dangerous materials and to respect the human rights of all Libyans including those who have been detained. We are under no illusions. Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy."
Speaking from the Rose Garden on Thursday Obama focused on the fact that the Libyan mission had been an allied international effort that involved the U.S. military and navy that "without putting a single service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives and our NATO mission will soon come to an end."
The president also used this as an opportunity to warn other dictators that "the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end."