Spain's Javier Gomez won his third ITU World Triathlon title as he beat Britain's Jonathan Brownlee in a sprint finish at the Grand Final in London.
Brownlee was overtaken on the home straight by Gomez, who finished one second ahead of the 2012 champion.
"I gave it everything but there was nothing I could do. It was tough," Brownlee, 23, told BBC Radio 5 live.
Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee struggled with an ankle injury on the run and finished well down the field.
The 25-year-old led the world standings ahead of the race in Hyde Park, but struggled during the 10k run and had to settle for fourth in the overall standings.
"I'm so glad this whole year is over. It's been an absolute nightmare," said Alistair, who has been hindered by the ankle problem for the last three months.
He was part of the leading group coming into transition for the second time, but was in obvious pain as soon as the run began and soon fell behind.
Once he realised his hopes of winning a third title were over, he barked orders at his younger brother when their paths crossed, urging him to race tactically.
Alistair told BBC Sport later that his brother was a "complete tactical numpty" for not waiting until closer to the line before attempting to outsprint Gomez.
Jonathan, who won a bronze medal at London 2012, set off with 250m remaining but was overhauled by 30-year-old Gomez just before the finish.
"Alistair wanted me to use my brain and to think about it. I did use my head as much as I could," said Jonathan, who admitted losing by such a narrow margin was "quite hard to take".
"When it is so close, you ask yourself, 'what could I have done differently?' But when you get beaten by 30 seconds you just think 'he was better than me'.
"I don't even know why Alistair started the race, to be honest."
The Brownlees and Gomez were all in title contention before the race but, with 1,200 points awarded for first place in London, Gomez secured the world crown by a 25-point margin over Jonathan, with Spain's Mario Mola third.