Alex Salmond is to step down as first minister of Scotland after voters decisively rejected independence.
He will also resign as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) after the "No" side won Thursday's referendum by 2,001,926 to 1,617,989 for "Yes".
The national split of the vote was 55% for "No" to 45% for "Yes".
Mr Salmond said: "For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."
Speaking from Bute House in Edinburgh, the first minister's official residence, he told journalists: "I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6m voters who rallied to that cause."
First Minister, Alex Salmond: "For me as leader my time is nearly over"
Mr Salmond, 59, who has led his party for a total of 20 years, also said there were a "number of eminently qualified and very suitable candidates for leader", although the current deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, also deputy SNP leader, would be seen as a clear frontrunner.
He said he would stand down as SNP leader at the SNP's conference in November, and then as first minister, when the party elected its next leader following a ballot of SNP members.
But Mr Salmond said he would stay on as MSP for Aberdeenshire East, adding: "It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as first minister.
"But, as I said often during the referendum campaign, this is not about me or the SNP. It is much more important than that.
"The position is this. We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative. More importantly Scotland can still emerge as the real winner."