President Barack Obama announced the death of Anwar al-Awlaki ahead of his remarks at a ceremony marking the departure of Adm. Michael G. Mullen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Earlier this morning, Anwar al-Awlaki, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed in Yemen," he said. "The death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda's most active operational affiliate."

"Awlaki was the leader of external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans."

The death of al-Awlaki marks another significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates," Obama added. "Furthermore, this success is a tribute to our intelligence community, and to the efforts of Yemen and its security forces, who have worked closely with the United States over the course of several years."

Watch video, courtesy of the Associated Press, below: