Lazard boss Bruce Wasserstein passed away last night after being taken to hospital with an irregular heartbeat. It leaves Wall Street mourning the loss of a banking legend: Bid 'em up Bruce was the man behind such colossal deals as KKR's $31.4bn hostile takeover of RJR Nabisco, which was immortalised in the book Barbarians at the Gate, and Kraft's recent bid for Cadbury - a move that bore all the audacious hallmarks of a classic Wasser. Just don't mention the flapping turkey that was the AOL-Time Warner marriage.
It makes for a curious time for a legend to leave us - after a three-decade career on Wall Street, in which Wasserstein became the figurehead of the hard-hitting, high-flying '80s and made deals worth more than $250bn, he played out the final act of his career in a banking world that had taken such a battering it must have seemed like another planet.
Just take a look at this week. Two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers have become the first Wall Street bankers to stand trial in a criminal case resulting from the credit crunch - accused of orchestrating a $1.6bn fraud in a bid to shore up their coffers as their funds fell to pieces. Meanwhile the American banking world is currently anticipating the hundredth failure of a high-street bank since the beginning of the year, as its financial institutions continue to wallow in the fallout from bad loans and delinquent mortgages.