Epstein, 66, had been accused of sex trafficking and was being held without bail in jail after being arrested on 6 July. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According the New York Post, a gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Center around 7.30am and headed to New York Downtown hospital. A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6.38am, fire department sources told the Post.
Epstein’s death comes a day after unsealed documents in New York revealed the extent of his abuse of young women at his home in Palm Beach, New York and the Virgin Islands.
Epstein had been held since he was arrested on charges relating to alleged sexual misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005.
An earlier attempt to prosecute him on similar charges collapsed when authorities granted him an unusually generous deal to plead guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.
His death comes just days after he was found unconscious in a Manhattan jail cell with injuries to his neck, US media had reported, citing unidentified sources.
It was not clear how he suffered those injuries. Two anonymous sources told New York’s local NBC News 4 that Epstein’s injuries may have been self-inflicted, while another said an assault by another inmate had not been ruled out.
After the incident, Epstein was placed on suicide watch.
The Brooklyn-born financier made his name at the investment bank Bear Stearns before opening his own firm in 1982, managing money for clients with wealth in excess of $1bn. The business came with an intensive social schedule. Epstein set himself up as a party figure in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, and courted the rich, famous and powerful across America and the world.
Epstein’s circle of friends and acquaintances has included Donald Trump; Bill Clinton; Prince Andrew; Leslie Wexner, founder of the company that owns the Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand; and many other prominent names in law, entertainment and politics.
The first allegations of sexual abuse came in 2005 when a woman contacted the Palm Beach police, alleging her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. The girl was allegedly paid $300 to strip and massage Epstein.
That triggered an 11-month investigation that drew in the FBI. Interviews with alleged victims and witnesses showed that some of the girls involved were under 18.
After original attempts to prosecute Epstein collapsed, Trump’s former labor secretary Alex Acosta came under repeated scrutiny for being seen as too lenient when he oversaw the case.
In February, a judge ruled prosecutors in the case violated the law by concealing the deal from his underage alleged victims. Acosta resigned from his administration post in July.
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