The shirt, which authorities found had been packed inside the same suitcase as the bomb, was sold at a Maltese fashion boutique called Mary’s House. The shop owner later identified Mr. Megrahi as the person who had bought the shirt.
The complexity of the operation, which required expert knowledge of airport security to smuggle on a piece of luggage unnoticed, and the fact that the bomb’s timer was linked to Libyan intelligence led to Mr. Megrahi’s indictment in 1991.
“The indictment, based on very firm forensic evidence, clearly and incontrovertibly pointed a spotlight on a blatant act of state-sponsored terrorism and implicated two Libyan agents acting in its commission,” Hoffman said.
During the 1990s, the FBI described Mr. Megrahi as an at-large fugitive who was “armed and extremely dangerous.” A $4 million bounty was placed on his head.
Charges were filed simultaneously against Mr. Megrahi and a Libyan co-conspirator, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, in the United States and Scotland.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi refused to extradite the men but placed them both under house arrest.
In response, the U.N. Security Council levied sanctions against Libya that hobbled the country’s economy. After lengthy negotiations led by South Africa’s president at the time, Nelson Mandela, and then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Gaddafi agreed in 1999 to surrender the men to a trial in the Netherlands with Scottish judges.
In court proceedings, Mr. Megrahi and Fhimah pleaded not guilty. The prosecutorial team called 227 witnesses; the defense called three. Neither of the accused men testified on their own behalf.
In 2001, Mr. Megrahi was convicted of mass murder and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 27 years. Fhimah was acquitted.
Gaddafi’s government never denied involvement in the bombing and over several years paid $2.7 billion to the families of victims.
After his cancer diagnosis, Mr. Megrahi requested that he be sent home. When he arrived in Tripoli in 2009, he was greeted by hundreds of jubilant Libyans, including some who wore shirts depicting his face. Others in the crowd waved Scottish flags, an apparently taunting gesture.
He earned a reputation as a national hero, and babies were reportedly named after him. He was granted an exclusive audience with Gaddafi.
The decision to allow his release enraged many of the families of Lockerbie bombing victims. President Obama called Mr. Megrahi’s release “a mistake.”
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was born April 1, 1952, in Tripoli. He studied in the United States during the 1970s and spoke fluent English. He received an engineering degree from Benghazi University in Libya.
Survivors include his wife, Aisha, and five children.
At home in Libya for the past two years, Mr. Megrahi lived in a resplendent villa in Tripoli, complete with a garden and swimming pool.
Until his death, Mr. Megrahi maintained his innocence, claiming that he was the victim of an international conspiracy.
“You judge me falsely,” Mr. Megrahi once told an American interviewer. “My life is clean.”