Thiruvenkadam Velupillai Prabhakaran (listen (US English); Tamil: ???????????? ?????????; Tamil pronunciation: [??e?l?p?????i? pr??b????r?n], 26 November 1954 – 19 May 2009) was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers), a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.For over 25 years, the LTTE waged war in Sri Lanka to create an independent state for the Sri Lankan Tamil people. Founded in 1976, the LTTE rocketed to prominence in 1983 after they ambushed a patrol of the Sri Lanka Army outside Jaffna, resulting in the deaths of 13 soldiers. This ambush, along with the subsequent rioting which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tamil civilians, is generally considered the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War. After years of fighting, including the intervention of the Indian Army (IPKF), the conflict was halted after international mediation in 2001. By then, the LTTE also known as the Tamil Tigers controlled large swathes of land in the north and east of the country, running a de facto state with Prabhakaran serving as its leader. Peace talks eventually broke down, and the Sri Lanka Army launched a military campaign to defeat the Tamil Tigers in 2006.
Prabhakaran and his son Charles Anthony were killed in fighting with the Sri Lankan Army in May 2009. His wifes and daughters bodies were reportedly found by the Sri Lankan army but the report was later denied by the Sri Lankan government. It was alleged that his 12-year-old second son was executed a short time later. Prabhakarans reported death and the announcement We have decided to silence our guns. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer, by Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers chief of international relations, brought an end to the armed conflict.