The chubby, mustachioed Prabhakaran turned what was little more than a street gang in the late 1970s into one of the world's most feared insurgencies. He demanded unwavering loyalty and gave his followers vials of cyanide to wear around their necks and bite into in case of capture.
At the height of his power, he controlled a shadow state in northern Sri Lankan and commanded a force that including an infantry, backed by artillery, a significant naval wing and a nascent air force.
LTTE leadership wiped out
He also controlled a suicide squad known as the Black Tigers that was blamed for scores of deadly attacks. Though groups in Lebanon had used the tactic years earlier, the rebels would become infamous for perfecting it. The rebels were branded a terror group and condemned for forcibly conscripting child soldiers.
Image: In this photo provided by Sri Lankan army, the remains of Charles Anthony, the son of Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, is seen in Mullivaikkal on May 18.
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