Born in 1951, Gordon Brown is the son of a Church of Scotland minister. He excels at school and sports but loses an eye in a rugby accident as a teenager.
Mr Brown goes to Edinburgh University at the age of 16, gaining a first-class honours degree in history. He is elected rector of the institution, aged 21.
Mr Brown is elected an MP in 1983. He shares his House of Commons office with Tony Blair, beginning a relationship which will come to dominate British politics.
Cooling off: the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown has been described as difficult since the two allegedly did a deal allowing Mr Blair to run for Labour leader in 1994.
Mr Brown becomes chancellor after Labour's election win in 1997, going on to serve more than 10 years in the job. His first act is to make the Bank of England independent.
Mr Brown marries his long-time girlfriend Sarah Macaulay, a public relations consultant, at his home in Fife in 2000.
The Browns have two sons - John and Fraser. Their first child, Jennifer, died aged 10 days of a brain haemorrhage in 2002.
Mr Brown has campaigned against poverty in the developing world, often appearing with musicians such as Bono and Bob Geldof (pictured).
In recent months, Mr Brown has broadened his duties, apparently in preparation for being PM. After months of speculation, Tony Blair announced his resignation.
Mr Brown is chosen by Labour MPs to be the party's leader. Thirteen years after his reported deal with Tony Blair, he is now prime minister.