Will Tamils' sufferings end?
Few dispute he was one of the most effective guerrilla leaders in modern warfare -- displaying the tactical prowess of Afghanistan's Ahmad Shah Masoud, the ruthlessness of Osama bin Laden and the conviction of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara.
In three decades of savage ethnic conflict aimed at carving out a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east, Prabhakaran managed to consolidate a de facto state and -- until now -- outsmart successive government offensives.
Image: In this file handout picture taken at an undisclosed location in the rebel-held Wanni region in northern Sri Lanka and released by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on July 05 2006, Velupillai Prabhakaran (R) pays tribute to some 261 'Black Tigers' suicide bombers who have carried out attacks since the group's first strike 19 years ago. (Photograph copyright AFP. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)