Posted at 04:49 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Gaddafi’s wig: A dictator undone by vanity?

The long, strange tale of Moammar Gaddafi is at an end, after the former Libyan leader was shot and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday.

At the hospital, Libyan officials ran a number of tests, including on hair samples for DNA, to prove the identity of the dictator who had been on the run for the last two months. The hair was not Moammar Gaddafi’s. The slain leader was wearing a wig.


Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, right, gives the sign of peace at the opening of the 38th Organization for African Unity Summit in Durban, South Africa, July 8, 2002. (Obed Zilwa/AP)

Libya's interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, told The Washington Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan in an interview that Gaddafi was discovered by revolutionary fighters hiding in “a big pipe of the sewage system.” He was shot when a gunfight broke out between his security detail and the Libyan fighters. At a hospital in Misurata, samples of Gaddafi's DNA, blood, hair and saliva were taken and analyzed to confirm the body was actually Gaddafi.

The hair “turned out to be a wig,” said the prime minister.

Given Gaddafi’s flamboyant dressing style and audacious displays of wealth (one soldier reported he took a gold-plated gun from Gaddafi during the fight), it is not surprising that Gaddafi would still wear a wig, even when running for his life and hiding in a sewer system.

Rumors of plastic surgery dogged the leader, who surrounded himself with a coterie of women guards with strict makeup and dress codes. He and his family lived in lavish compounds around the country and abroad. Meanwhile, the country had an unemployment rate of around 30 percent and about one-third of all Libyans lived at or below the national poverty line.

By  |  04:49 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Tags:  World, Libya, Moammar Gaddafi

 
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