Profile: Bo Xilai
Bo Xilai was one of the Communist Party's top leaders before he was felled by one of the biggest scandals to rock China in years.
Mr Bo, 63, was the party chief of Chongqing in south-western China and a member of the powerful politburo - one of the 25 most senior party officials in the country.
Charismatic and suave, he was a prominent figure who enjoyed being in the limelight, a trait that set him apart from other Chinese politicians.
But his fall began in February, when his former chief of police in Chongqing, Wang Lijun, spent a day at a US consulate in Chengdu.
Wang, who has since been jailed for 15 years, triggered an investigation into the murder of UK businessman Neil Heywood.
Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has been convicted and given a suspended death sentence for Mr Heywood's death.
Mr Bo, who was removed from his post in March, has not been seen since. He has been expelled from both the Communist Party and the national parliament, and is to face trial, authorities say.'Princeling' status
Like Xi Jinping, who is expected to become China's next leader, Bo Xilai is a "princeling" - someone who hails from China's elite political circles.
Their fathers were Mao Zedong's comrades and later served under Deng Xiaoping as top officials.
Bo Xilai is the son of Bo Yibo, a powerful Communist Party elder and revolutionary Red Army commander.
As a child, he attended a top school in Beijing with other children of important officials.
But during the Cultural Revolution, the senior Mr Bo was purged from his official posts and the younger Bo spent time at a labour camp.
He met and began a relationship with his first wife, Li Danyu, a military doctor who was also from a political elite family. The couple married in 1976 and had a son the following year.
After the Cultural Revolution ended, Mr Bo enrolled in the prestigious Peking University, studying history.
He joined the Communist Party in 1980 and earned a masters degree in journalism from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1982.
In the 1980s, the Bo family's star began to shine again and Bo Yibo became one of the powerful ''Eight Elders'' of the Communist Party.Fast track
Bo Xilai moved to the north-eastern Liaoning province. It was during this period, in the early 1980s, that he left his first wife and married Gu Kailai.
Like her husband, she hailed from a distinguished background - she is the youngest child of a prominent revolutionary and a trained lawyer who also studied at Peking University.
Their only son, Bo Guagua, who recently completed post-graduate studies at Harvard University, was born in 1987.
Bo Xilai's political career was set on the fast track when he was appointed mayor of the coastal city of Dalian.
He was credited with the stellar success and transformation of Dalian from an unremarkable port to a major city - one of the cleanest in China and a showcase of China's economic boom.
It was also in Dalian that Mr Bo and Gu reportedly first met Mr Heywood.
In 2001, thanks - it is said - in part to active campaigning by his father, Mr Bo was appointed governor of Liaoning province. Three years later, he became China's commerce minister.
At the last party congress in 2007, he was given a seat on the politburo. He reportedly had ambitions for the top ranks - the nine-member standing committee. Some analysts believe that Bo Yibo's death in January that year diminished his chances.'Chongqing model'
Bo Xilai was instead appointed party chief of Chongqing. He became well-known there for running two major campaigns in the city.
One was a high-profile crackdown on crime, which many welcomed but led to allegations that abuses were taking place.
The other was to promote China's communist past - harking back to old communist values that generated nostalgia for the days of Chairman Mao, including the public singing of "red songs".
He advanced the "Chongqing model" of development, using state funds to boost consumption and investing in public housing and infrastructure.
But while he appeared to be popular with the city's poor and working-class citizens, his ambition and flamboyant style earned him enemies and raised eyebrows among party leaders back in Beijing, analysts said.
''Nobody really trusts [Bo Xilai]: a lot of people are scared of him, including several princelings who are supposed to be his power base,'' Cheng Li, an expert in China's political elite at the Brookings Institution, has been quoted as saying.
His fallen from grace, when it came, was swift and dramatic. After his former ally Wang Lijun fled to the US consulate, rumours connecting Mr Bo's wife to the murder of Neil Heywood began to circulate.
Then in April came formal confirmation - Mr Bo had been stripped of his official posts and his wife was being investigated for murder.
Now both she and Wang have been jailed. As for Mr Bo, he has been expelled from the Communist Party and state media says he will "face justice".