On 14 December 2003, the former Iraqi president was tracked down to a hole in the ground near his hometown of Tikrit and captured in a swoop by US forces.
Within hours of receiving a tip-off, the US had positioned 600 troops ready for "Operation Red Dawn".
Intensive searches of farmland near the town of al-Dawr revealed Saddam Hussein in an underground hide-out, about six to eight feet (1.8m to 2.5m) deep, after several months on the run.
He was armed with a pistol, but surrendered without a fight and confirmed his identity to the troops.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him!" announced Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, prompting scenes of jubilation in many parts of the country.
Images of the former president having his unkempt hair searched for lice and his mouth inspected were televised across the world.
"In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over," said US president George Bush, although he warned that it did not mean the end of violence in Iraq.
He vowed that Saddam would "face the justice he denied to millions".