One of the bankers advising Kraft Foods' approach for Cadbury, the UK confectioner, has died, it has been announced.

Bruce Wasserstein, the 61-year-old chairman and CEO of investment bank Lazard, has passed away, the company said last night (14 October).

Wasserstein was taken to hospital over the weekend with an irregular heartbeat and Lazard had said its chief was in a "serious but stable" condition.

The bank said last night that the cause of Wasserstein's death had "not yet been determined".

"His commitment to his clients was legendary. Lazard's board of directors, and the many people he worked with and mentored over the years, mourn his loss," the company said.

"He has put into place a long-term strategy as well as a broad and deep leadership team,
in whom we have confidence and who will sustain his vision."

Lazard remains Kraft's adviser on its interest in Cadbury, the maker of Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident gum.

Kraft, the maker of Milka and Toblerone chocolate, has until 9 November to table an offer for Cadbury.

UK M&A regulator The Takeover Panel handed down the deadline last month following mounting speculation in the wake of Kraft's proposed GBP10.2bn (US$16.57bn) offer on 7 September.

Cadbury rejected that offer and has sought to publicly defend the future independence of the company and its business strategy in recent weeks.