11 February 2011
Last updated at 18:14
Hosni Mubarak was thrust by violence into the leadership of the Arab world's most populous country, and has been forced out by a wave of popular protest.
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak was born on 4 May 1928 in a small village in the Nile Delta. Despite a poor background, he graduated from Egypt's Military Academy in 1949 before transferring to the Air Force.
As commander of the Egyptian Air Force and deputy minister of defence, he was instrumental in planning the surprise attack on Israeli forces in the Sinai peninsula at the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
Mr Mubarak was intimately involved in negotiating the Camp David peace agreement with Israel, signed in 1979 by President Anwar Sadat (centre) and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
In the wake of Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981 Hosni Mubarak was elevated to the presidency. Few expected that the little-known vice-president would hold on to the country's top job for so long.
He cemented relations with the US, which supplied Egypt with billions of dollars of military aid. To the West, Egypt was a key ally - a voice of moderation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, being an ally of the West made him a target for Islamist extremists. He survived six assassination attempts, with the narrowest escape in 1995 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Approximately 5,000 well-wishers gathered at the presidential Qubba Palace in Cairo, in an organised rally to express their support for Mr Mubarak following the attack.
However, there was a dark side to Hosni Mubarak's rule. Members of opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood were often jailed, and torture was common. The intelligence services were pervasive and many Egyptians felt stripped of their dignity.
In his final years in office President Mubarak came under pressure to encourage democracy, both from within Egypt and from the United States.
When protests erupted in January 2011 that pressure became unbearable. He eventually resigned less than a day after a national broadcast stating that he would stay on until elections in September.
After 18 days of rallies Mr Mubarak's departure from office was announced on state television by his Vice-President, Omar Suleiman - appointed only days earlier - sparking jubilant scenes.