Bernie Madoff, the disgraced US financier at the heart of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, has died in prison aged 82, the BBC reports.

Madoff was convicted of defrauding thousands of investors, ranging from celebrities to normal working people, after his £65bn Ponzi scheme collapsed during the financial crisis in 2008.

He was sentenced to 150 years in jail in 2009 after admitting the large scale fraud, the report said. His death was announced by the US Bureau of Prisons.

Madoff started the Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s. The report added firm was investigated eight times by the US Securities and Exchange Commission because it made "exceptional returns".

Suspicions were only aroused when investors caught in the global recession tried to withdraw about $7bn from his funds and he could not find the money to cover it. He told his sons about the issues and they reported him to the authorities.

Only a fraction of the funds has been recovered.

Last year, he requested early release from prison due to health problems but was denied.