Lazard Ltd Chief Executive Bruce Wasserstein has died, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited two people familiar with the matter.

Lazard did not immediately return calls. The newspaper said the details of his passing could not be learned.

The company announced on Sunday that Wasserstein, 61, had been hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat. It called his condition serious, but added that he was stable and recovering.

Lazard shares were halted before the close on Wednesday pending an announcement.

Wasserstein, a star investment banker since the 1970s, was credited with brokering more than 1,000 transactions worth more than $250 billion, including Time's merger with Warner Brothers and the Dean Witter, Discover & Co combination with Morgan Stanley.

(Reporting by Steve Eder)