PHOTO GALLERY: Highlights of the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony

Our Olympic heroes celebrated their sporting success with the party playlist of a lifetime as the 2012 Games reached its glittering climax with a symphony of legendary British pop music.

Last night's stunning closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium featured live performances from a procession of stars including the Spice Girls, Madness, the Kaiser Chiefs, Queen, Annie Lennox, Jessie J, George Michael, Fat Boy Slim and the Pet Shop Boys.

The party marked the end of British sport's most successful Olympic Games in more than a century which saw a final medal tally of 65, including 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronze.

A worldwide TV audience of billions watched as many of the 10,000 athletes from the 204 competing nations flooded into the stadium, mingling on the track where the likes of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah made history.

Huge cheers greeted British sailor Ben Ainslie as he carried the Union flag into the stadium. 'Wow. This is it... The end,' he tweeted. 'We should all be very proud to have held the greatest Olympics in modern times.'

Following the flag-bearers, thousands of athletes walked through the spectators, medals round their necks, high-fiving fans and waving to the cameras.

Beginning in a miniature mock-up of a newspaper-wrapped capital, the spectacular was designed to reflect the very best of British culture, music and history.

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And the cultural references came thick and fast, from Blur's Parklife played by a military marching band, to Only Fools and Horses, Winston Churchill, Shakespeare, Monty Python, Big Ben and London traffic jams.

The showcase of British music continued with the voice of Freddie Mercury singing Queen's epic Bohemian Rhapsody and the long-awaited one-off reunion of the Spice Girls, belting out Spice Up Your Life from the roofs of illuminated London black cabs.

And there was a popular appearance by former Access To Music Norwich student Ed Sheeran. The singer-songwriter from Saxlingham in Suffolk was joined by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, The Feeling's Richard Jones and Genesis founder Mike Rutherford to perform a version of Pink Floyd's classic Wish You Were Here.

At the end of the show, the Olympic Flag was lowered and passed by London mayor Boris Johnson to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, who in turn presented it to Rio mayor Eduardo Paes. Then the flame that reached all corners of the UK over 70 days was extinguished – and the Games were over.