With the death of Muammar Gaddafi, TIME looks at the eight children (and one nephew who was adopted as a son) Gaddafi had groomed — to varying extents — to carry his perplexing, brutal legacy forward.
Mohammed Gaddafi, age uncertain: Not much is known about Muammar’s eldest son and the only child from the strongman’s first marriage. Mohammed is a computer scientist who has headed the country’s Olympic committee and the state-run General Post and Telecommunications Co., which oversees Libya’s mobile-phone providers. Update: Fled to Algeria.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, 40: Until the recent upheaval, Saif al-Islam (“the sword of Islam”) had cultivated himself as a figure of reform. Urbane, equipped with flawless English and educated largely overseas — and the recipient of a controversial Ph.D. from the London School of Economics — he was compelled to leave Libya in 2006 after perceived criticism of his father’s domineering rule. But Saif, a shrewd operator and canny businessman, found himself in Muammar’s good graces a few years later and was wholly rehabilitated. His loyalty to the embattled dictatorship now seems hard to question — see TIME’s exclusive interview with Saif here. And while he has handled much of his father’s p.r. at home, squatters have occupied his North London luxury pad. Update: Arrested in Southern Libya nearly a month after his father’s death. He was reportedly part of a convoy attempting to flee into neighboring Niger.
Al-Saadi Gaddafi, 39: It’s safe to say al-Saadi isn’t the brainiest of the bunch. After enrolling in the military and attaining the rank of colonel (like his dad), he opted to follow his passion — soccer — leveraging his family’s Italian business connections in 2003 to get himself on the books of Perugia, a team that was then in the top tier of Italy’s soccer league. But his career was stillborn; al-Saadi had an undistinguished debut match and, with only one game under his belt, was effectively booted off the squad following a failed drug test. The BBC reported that al-Saadi directly encouraged Libyan soldiers to shoot at protesting civilians in Benghazi at the start of the uprising. UPDATE: Saadi fled to Niger following the rebels’ seizure of Tripoli.
Mutassim Billah Gaddafi, 35 or 36: Saif al-Islam’s most apparent rival to the throne, Mutassim cuts an interesting figure. A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks shows that he actively tried to cultivate relations with Washington. But Mutassim seems even more embedded in Libya’s state-security firmament than Saif and commands their father’s elite presidential guard. UPDATE: Believed to have been killed by NTC fighters in Sirt.
Ayesha Gaddafi, 35: Gaddafi’s only daughter is a lawyer who was part of the unsuccessful team defending ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in a war-crimes trial that eventually led to his execution. According to a U.S. cable, Ayesha is “considered by some shrewder and smarter than her brothers” and is dear to Muammar but has never seemed to be in line for succession. She married a cousin of her father’s in 2006 and was more recently photographed by TIME attending pro-regime demonstrations in Tripoli. Update: Fled to Algeria.
Hannibal Gaddafi, 33 or 34: Named after the ancient Carthaginian general who famously crossed the Alps and almost brought an end to the Roman republic, Hannibal has tried to live up to the moniker by leaving a trail of wrecked hotel rooms and unpaid bills in some of Europe’s grandest capitals. In 2005 he was accused of hitting his girlfriend (now his wife),
Libyan Lebanese model Aline Skaf, in a Paris hotel. A few years later, the couple was arrested by Swiss police after allegedly beating their attendants in a fancy suite in Geneva. They were eventually bailed out to the tune of nearly half a million dollars, but the incident prompted a diplomatic crisis, with Libya cutting off oil supplies to Switzerland and boycotting Swiss goods. UPDATE: Fled to Algeria.
Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, age uncertain: Not much known is about Saif al-Arab, who, according to reports, studied at a Munich business school, where authorities were compelled to impound his Ferrari due to Saif’s habit of making excessive noise when revving up the engine. He also has his brother Hannibal’s penchant for brawling in high-end nightclubs. Update: Believed killed in NATO strike on Tripoli.
Khamis Gaddafi, 30 or 31: Khamis is thought of by some as the dark horse in any eventual war of succession among the Gaddafi brothers. Schooled at a military academy in Russia, he commands an elite unit known as the “Khamis Brigade,” comprising some of the most well-trained, well-equipped and loyal soldiers in the regime. Rumors that Khamis’ battalion recruited mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa to help crack down on antigovernment protests fueled outrage in eastern Libya. Now it appears that Khamis may have died in a kamikaze attack on his father’s bunker, ever the loyal defender of the family empire. Update: Believed killed during the fall of Tripoli to rebel forces.
Milad Gaddafi, age uncertain: Little is known about Milad, but Muammar Gaddafi apparently adopted this nephew of his as a son, a symbolic gesture tied to an incident in 1986 when the young Milad reportedly saved the Libyan leader’s life during a U.S. bomb attack on his compound. Muammar now invokes his lucky survival that day during his many bromides against the U.S. Libyan state TV likes to show the statue erected by the Gaddafi clan to commemorate its patriarch’s escape.