Amschel Rothschild, the man widely expected to become the next head of the Rothschild Bank, was found dead in a Paris luxury hotel in what police said was an apparent suicide. He was 41.

Rothschild's body was discovered Monday in his room by a cleaning lady in the Hotel Bristol, Le Parisien newspaper said.Police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Thursday that Rothschild had hanged himself. The bank refused to comment, but Rothschild's wife Anita said in a statement the family was "completely shocked and devastated."

Rothschild was appointed chief executive of Rothschild Asset Management in 1990, later becoming its chairman. The moves led to speculation that he was being prepared to succeed Sir Evelyn Rothschild as chairman of the family bank, N.M. Rothschild and Sons.

The Rothschild family gained prominence by financing such projects as the construction of European railroads and the British military campaign that led to the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.

In addition to his wife, Rothschild is survived by a son and two daughters.