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Lockerbie Bomber Dies, Three Years After Release

The former Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, has died.

Family members tell The Associated Press and Reuters that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi died at home after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 60.

Al-Megrahi had been held in a prison in western Scotland after being convicted in 2001 for the bombing that killed 270 people. He returned to Libya in 2009, released on humanitarian grounds after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. At the time, the AP notes, doctors predicted he had only three months to live.

It was a controversial decision, criticized heavily by the U.S. and sparking fury from victims' families. Al-Megrahi received a hero's welcome in Libya on his return, but spent his final years bedridden and mostly sealed off from the public by Libyan authorities.

To the end, al-Megrahi denied responsibility for the bombing. The BBC carries some of his last public words on the subject:

In his last interview, filmed in December 2011, Megrahi said: "I am an innocent man. I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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