Originally a Saiyan named Kakarot, his father, Bardock, was a third-class warrior. Goku was sent to Earth as a baby, in the hopes that he would grow up to ravage the planet. Instead, he forgot his mission and was raised by the human Gohan. Goku became a fighter for good under the tutelage of Master Roshi. His tail was amputated when he was young, to prevent his metamorphosis into an Oozaru under the full moon.
After many adventures as a youngster, meeting friends like Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong, and Krillin, and battling villains such as Pilaf, the Red Ribbon Army, King Piccolo and his offspring, Goku eventually came of age. He married a human woman named Chi-Chi, daughter of the Ox King. The two had a son, Gohan, born in May of 757 (obviously named in honor of his adoptive grandfather).
Goku was slain battling his brother, the Saiyan warrior Raditz, but returned from the Other World, even more powerful from training under King Kai. Goku helped his son and his friends defeat the other two remaining Saiyans, Nappa and Vegeta. Then, he travelled to the planet Namek, to battle the evil Frieza and his warriors. Goku succeeded in defeating four of Frieza's elite Ginyu Force- Recoome, Jeice, Burter, and Captain Ginyu- before facing Frieza himself. He defeated the immensely powerful villain, raising his power level to unheard-of heights and proving himself to be one of the fabled Super Saiyans.
In the destruction of Namek which was brought about by Frieza, Goku escaped in one of the Ginyu Force's ships. He learned the Instant Transmission technique from the inhabitants of the planet Yardrat, then returned home. It was when Goku returned that he met Trunks, a time traveller from a dark time, 20 years in the future, who turned out to be the son of Vegeta and Bulma. Trunks warned him of two menaces- a pair of evil androids- that would threaten the world, and that Goku himself would die of a heart virus that he contracted on Yardrat. To prevent that, Trunks gave Goku a medicine.
Three years passed, and two androids did appear, and Goku did nearly die- but the medicine saved him. However, these two androids- Android 19 and Android 20- were not the true threat, but a result of an altered history caused by Trunks' appearance in the past. The true androids- Android 17 and Android 18- surfaced later, along with a new third, Android 16. The evil Cell appeared around the same time, who absorbed the two androids known to Trunks and ascended to great power. Goku recovered and underwent training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber along with Gohan in order to go beyond the level of Super Saiyan. Goku failed to go beyond, but became more powerful nonetheless, able to remain as a Super Saiyan all the time.
Goku battled Cell, but stopped to pass the battle on to Gohan, who he knew was capable of defeating the monster where he could not. Gohan failed to finish Cell when he had the chance. Thus, Goku was slain once more in a massive explosion, when he teleported a self-destructing Cell to King Kai's planet.
Goku spent time training in the Other World, becoming the only non-fused Saiyan to attain the level of Super Saiyan 3. Meanwhile, Goku and Chi-Chi's second son, Goten, was born in May 767. Goku was later resurrected by the Old Kai, at the cost of the Kai's life, so that he could battle the evil Majin Buu, fusing with Vegeta to form Vegeto as part of the battle. Goku eventually destroyed Buu, and years later, trained his reincarnation Uub.
Dragon Ball GT
Due to a misspoken wish on the Black Star Dragon Balls from his first foe, Pilaf, Goku was reverted to the age of a child. He went into space with Trunks and his granddaughter Pan to retrieve those Dragon Balls and save Earth from destruction. Following this, Goku fought Baby, Super 17, and the Evil Shenrons. During his battle with Baby, Goku ascended to the mighty level of Super Saiyan 4. Finally, at the age of 48, Goku's battles ended when he left with Earth's Eternal Dragon Shenron.
In an early dub of Dragon Ball Movie #3: Mystical Adventure, his name was changed to "Zero."
In other media
- Dragon Ball:
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Dragon Ball GT:
- Dragon Ball Super: