(CNN) -- He fought and triumphed over Hitler, Tojo, international Communism and a host of supervillains, but he could not dodge a sniper's bullet.
Comic book hero Captain America is dead.
After close to 60 years in print, Marvel Comics has killed off Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, one of its most famous and beloved superheroes amid an already controversial story line, "Civil War," which is pitting the heroes of Marvel's universe against one another.
In the comic series, Rogers was to stand trial for defying a superhero registration law passed after a hero's tragic mistake causes a 9/11-like event.
Steve Rogers eventually surrenders to police. He is later mortally wounded as he climbs the courthouse steps.
(Watch the story of an American hero
Marvel says the comic story line was intentionally written as an allegory to current real-life issues like the Patriot Act, the War on Terror and the September 11 attacks.
"Every child knew about 9/11," says Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Comics. "If [he] could see a TV he knew what 9/11 was. The other similarities [to] things going on are just part of storytelling."
It was a violent and strange end for an American hero.
Captain America first appeared in 1941, just as the United States entered World War II. He was a symbol of American strength and resolve in fighting the Axis powers, and later Communism.
As originally conceived by creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Rogers was a man born before the Great Depression in a very different America. He disappeared after the war and reappeared only recently in the Marvel timeline. For a superhero many thought perfect, it was perhaps a fatal flaw for "Cap," as he became known.
"He hasn't been living in the modern world and the world does move," says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.
Quesada said he wanted to readers find their own meaning in Cap's end.
"There is a lot to be read in there. But I'm not one who is going to tell people, this is what you should read into it, because I could look into it and read several different types of messages," he told CNN.
The character's death came as a blow to co-creator Simon, the Associated Press reported.
"We really need him now," Simon, 93, told The AP.
Still, one has to wonder: Is Captain America really dead? Comic book characters have routinely died, only to be resurrected when necessary to storylines.
Joe Quesada agrees -- but said times are different now.
"There was period in comics where characters would just die and then be resurrected. And the death had very little meaning and the resurrection had very little meaning," he said. "All I ask of my writers is if you're going to kill a character off, please let that death have some meaning in the overall scope of things."
Besides, he said, there are other important questions left unanswered.
"What happens with the costume? And what happens to the characters that are friends and enemies of Cap?" Quesada said with a smile. "You're going to have to read the books to find out."