Usain Bolt endured a desperately disappointing ending to his glittering career as he sustained an injury during the final leg while Britain powered through to secure a shock 4x100 metres relay victory in a dramatic race at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships here tonight.
The 30-year-old Jamaican received the baton from Yohan Blake and set off in pursuit of a 12th World Championships gold medal.
His attempt at end his story a fairytale finish was not to be as he pulled up with what looked to be a hamstring problem 50 metres from the line, providing an anti-climatic conclusion to one of the great sporting careers.
Members of the Jamaican team were furious with organisers and claimed they were at fault for Bolt's injury.
"I think they were holding us too long in the call room," Blake said.
"The walk was too long.
"Usain was really cold.
"In fact Usain said to me, 'Yohan, I think this is crazy. 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run'.
"We kept warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting.
"I think it got the better of us.
"We were over warm.
"To see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that.
"The race was 10 minutes late and we were kept 40 minutes."
Away from Bolt's misfortune, a fascinating battle developed between 100m silver medallist Christian Coleman of the United States and British hope Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.
Amid a crescendo of noise from the home crowd, Mitchell-Blake found another gear and got the better of Coleman to take gold for Britain.
The British quartet, which also featured Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili and Daniel Talbot, clocked a national record of 37.47sec to earn their first-ever World Championships 4x100m relay gold medal.
The US team of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin - the 100m champion once again booed by the crowd - Jaylen Bacon and Coleman finished in 37.52.
Japan, represented by Shuhei Tada, Shota Izuka, Yoshihide Kiryu and Kenji Fujimitsu, sealed a surprise bronze in 38.04.
For Bolt it was a hugely anti-climatic finish to his nine-year career at the top of the sport.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist had to settle for an unfamiliar bronze in his final individual 100m race but showed no sign of nerves, despite the fact the eyes of the world were focused solely on him.
Bolt wore a trademark grin as he entered the arena for the last time, keen to sign off in style.
Jamaica began well, as did the US and Britain, with World Championship 110m hurdles champion McLeod leading the early charge.
The US and the home team kept pace with their Jamaican counterparts and, when the baton was handed to Bolt, they were in front.
Bolt thrives on fighting back and the stage was set for him to spearhead Jamaica to a fifth consecutive 4x100m world title.
Then, disaster struck as a look of agony appeared across his face.
Bolt simply could not carry on, dropping to the floor in pain.
"It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race," Jamaica team doctor Kevin Jones said afterwards.
"The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know.
"We hope for the best for him."
Mitchell-Blake had it all to do if he was to beat Coleman, fastest 100m runner in the world this year, as the 21-year-old started with a slight advantage.
The Briton, born in Newham, the London Borough this Stadium is located in, but whose sprinting career started in Jamaica after moving there as a teenager, got ahead when it mattered.
He kept hold of his lead before crossing the line ahead of Coleman.
The 23-year-old, a 200m runner by trade, fifth at last year's European Championships in Amsterdam and was fifth in the semi-final at last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will get the plaudits for a fabulous finish but his team-mates had given him every chance of making history.
They all played a part in claiming Britain's first major 4x100m relay victory since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
"This crowd was amazing - this is the most fantastic feeling," said Ujah.
"We said we knew we could do it, but when we did it, we did it with a bang.
"I'm proud of these guys, we work so hard, including the team behind us at British Athletics, and it's just crazy to do it in London, our home-town."