Then we found out that he dyed his beard and wore woollen caps while he doddered about the house. He read gossip magazines and watched himself on TV. He watched porn. He ate vitamin tablets and even had some natural aphrodisiacs with him.
Not only did such revelations kill the ‘dread’ image somewhat, they also proved what many had long suspected - Al Qaeda was beyond him. He was the symbolic head and founder, but the organisation was no longer directly controlled or operated by Bin Laden.
He was, in the end anyway, nothing more than a sick old man, living in house arrest with his wives and kids, worried about his beard and his sex life.
Familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt.
Image: This still image from video released May 7, 2011 by the US Department of Defense(DoD) shows Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden wrapped in a blanket watching television.