A look at some milestones Osama bin Laden crossed in his life.
1957 - Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden is born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the 17th of 52 children of Muhammad Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant who built a billion-dollar construction enterprise in Saudi Arabia, and a Syrian mother.
1979 – Osama bin Laden graduates from university in Jeddah with an engineering degree and joins the "jihad," or "holy war," against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
1980-1989 – In this decade Osama bin Laden acts as the financier for Mujahidin operations in Afghanistan and also organises disparate guerrilla groups into a cohesive entity.
1988 – Osama founds a group that the United States subsequently dubs as al-Qaeda, which in Arabic means "the base" or ''database. The group still carries that nomenclature.
1989 - The Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan and bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family construction firm, the bin Laden Group.