LONDON: Usain Bolt's glittering career swansong came crashing to an end when he pulled up on the anchor leg of the world 4x100m relay won by Britain on Saturday.
Bolt received the baton with Jamaica in third, but halfway down his leg the towering sprinter pulled up clutching his left thigh, eventually doing a forward roll to the ground, to gasps from the 60,000 sell out London Stadium.
The British quartet of Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Daniel Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake claimed gold in 37.47 seconds, with the Justin Gatlin-led US four taking silver at 0.05sec and Japan a surprise bronze (38.04).
Bolt missed out on his bid to retain his 100m title earlier in the week, losing out to Gatlin and silver medallist Christian Coleman, who ran relay anchor for the Americans on Saturday.
But hopes were high for Bolt's final competitive race, with Jamaica also boasting newly-crowned 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake in their line-up.
Jamaica were afforded a rousing welcome from the crowd, Bolt applauding the stands, with pictures of him constantly shown on the stadium's big screens.
Gatlin and the US team also including another convicted doping cheat, Mike Rodgers, and Jaylen Bacon were booed when introduced although the jeering was less than for the individual 100m event.
A close first three legs saw Britain, the United States and Jamaica level-pegged for the final leg.
But there was to be drama as a visibly swearing Bolt pulled up, allowing the Japanese quartet to nip in for third.
The result means Bolt, 100 and 200m world record holder, finishes his career with 14 world medals to go with eight Olympic golds.
Usain Bolt by numbers
Usain Bolt retired from track and field championships after Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the world championships in London.
Unfortunately there was to be no fairytale as he pulled up and collapsed injured on the track running the anchor leg.
Here AFP Sports looks at his glittering career in numbers.
1: World bronze, after being beaten in the 100m in London 2017 by Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman
3: The number of Olympic treble sprint doubles, in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. It should have been a treble treble including all three relay titles, but teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for doping in the Chinese capital
4: Times Bolt has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2013, 2017
5: The number of sprinters to have beaten Bolt over 100m: Gatlin, Coleman, Jamaica's Asafa Powell, American Tyson Gay and Antigua's Daniel Bailey
6: Times Bolt has won the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016
8: Olympic gold medals: 100, 200m (2008, 2012, 2016); 4x100m relay (2012, 2016)
9.58 the world record he set for the 100m at the 2009 worlds in Berlin
9.63: the second fastest time ever run, when Bolt scorched to 100m gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
9: times Bolt has run sub-9.77 seconds or faster for the 100m
11: world gold medals: 100m (2009, 2013, 2015); 200m (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015); 4x100m relay (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
14: world medals amassed since making his debut in Helsinki in 2005, when he finished eighth and last in the 200m final
14.35: the world best Bolt set over 150 metres in Manchester, England, in 2009. He ran the final 100 metres in a startling 8.70sec, the fastest time ever recorded
19: major global medals
19.19: the world record he set for the 200m at the 2009 worlds in Berlin
30.97: His best time over the rarely-run 300m, set in 2010. Only South African Wayde van Niekerk and American Michael Johnson have gone faster
31: The Jamaican turns 31 on August 21
36.84: The world record for the 4x100m relay set at the London Olympics, Bolt anchoring a team also comprising Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake. Bolt had been part of two previous world relay records, in Beijing in 2008 (though this was later voided) and at the 2011 Daegu worlds
37.58: Bolt's average speed in km/h (23.35mph) in his 100m world record race. Should you subtract his reaction time of 0.15sec, his time is actually 9.43sec, making his average speed 38.18km/h (23.72mph)
41: The number of strides it took for Bolt to cover the 100m on his record-setting run in the German capital
44.72: Top speed in km/h (27.79mph) reached during his 100m run in Berlin in 2009, between the 60 to 80-metre mark
53: The number of times Bolt has run sub-10 second 100m races
195: His height in centimetres, or 6ft 5in
4.82 million: Followers on Twitter
7.4 million: Followers on Instagram
18.8 million: Follows of his Facebook page
34.2 million: Dollars earned by Bolt last year according to a list of the world's richest sportspeople by Forbes magazine