RENOWNED financial journalist Greta Steyn committed suicide last week, her mother, Anna Steyn, confirmed on Friday.

The circumstances of her death were unclear, but her mother said that she found her daughter dead in Sandton last week.

"Greta Louise Steyn passed away on Wednesday February 6. She was 49 years old," her mother said.

Ms Steyn told Business Day that her daughter had lived a life of solitude during her media career.

"She passed away tragically last week. She had lived alone all of her adult life and she was very lonely. I think things got really bad for her," she said.

Her mother said Steyn had worked for Business Day for about 15 years.

Before she died, she had been working for Media24’s financial magazine Finweek.

Alan Fine, public affairs manager at miner AngloGold Ashanti and a close friend of Steyn, said she had been one the leading journalists covering economics in South Africa.

"She was one of the most brilliant journalists, if not the most, that the country had known for a long time," he said.

BDFM publisher and former Business Day editor Peter Bruce on Friday also hailed Steyn for her work in journalism.

"She was one of the best economics journalists in her generation," Mr Bruce said.

Steyn won the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award in 1996 while working for Business Day.