On 17th August 2017 a strong source of gravitational waves was detected by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. The signal lasted for 60 seconds, and the event was followed just 2 seconds later by a short burst of gamma-rays that was detected by Fermi and INTEGRAL. The gravitational-wave and gamma-ray source had consistent sky positions to within about 30 square degrees. Within 10 hours of the gravitational-wave source event, a fast fading optical and near-infrared counterpart was discovered, which was subsequently followed-up and studied intensively for several weeks and months by numerous facilities. This talk presented the results from our optical and near-infrared imaging and spectroscopic follow-up campaign of this unprecedented discovery, which was the first electromagnetic counterpart of a gravitational-wave source, the first identification of a neutron star-neutron star merger, and the first direct evidence of the source of r-process elements. It focussed on the results of the GROND and ePESSTO teams, showing that this remarkable transient truly opened up the era of multi-messenger astronomy.