He hobbled and went down in agony as Britain kept on going to hold off the USA and take gold.
The British team clocked a time of 37.47s which is the third fastest time of all time.
Britain, who came fifth in the Olympics last year, had looked in good form when qualifying but they were not expected to challenge Jamaica and the USA.
CJ Ujah got Britain off to the perfect start before former Chelsea academy footballer Adam Gemili continued the pace.
Third stage runner Daniel Talbot took the baton perfectly and gave Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake the chance to run for gold.
As Talbot visibly screamed his team-mate on Mitchell-Blake held off the formidable Christian Coleman, unaware of Bolt’s plight, and secured a historic gold for Britain.
RESULTS IN FULL
1. Great Britain – C.Ujah/A.Gemili/D.Talbot/N.Mitchell-Blake 37.47
2. U.S. – M.Rodgers/J.Gatlin/J.Bacon/C.Coleman 37.52
3. Japan – S.Tada/S.Iizuka/Y.Kiryu/K.Fujimitsu 38.04
4. China – Wu Z Q/Xie Z Y/Su B T/Zhang P M 38.34
5. France – S.Dutamby/J.Vicaut/M.Zeze/C.Lemaitre 38.48
6. Canada – G.Smellie/A.Brown/B.Rodney/M.Ajomale 38.59
7. Turkey – Y.Hekimoglu/J.Harvey/E.Barnes/R.Guliyev 38.73
. Jamaica – O.McLeod/J.Forte/Y.Blake/U.Bolt DNF