Epstein, a convicted sex offender who befriended numerous politicians and celebrities over the years, hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He was awaiting trial on charges that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
His body was found around 7:30 am (1230 GMT) on Saturday and taken to a hospital in New York.
The city medical examiner’s office confirmed Epstein’s death but said nothing about what caused it or the time of death. It said a medical investigation has been opened.
The 66-year-old’s death comes just over two weeks after he was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck after an apparent suicide attempt.
Epstein did not appear to be showing any visible signs of injuries when he appeared in court on July 31 following that incident, to be told that his trial wouldn’t begin before June next year.
He was denied bail last month in a New York court because he was deemed a flight risk.
Epstein denied the charges and had faced up to 45 years in prison — effectively the rest of his life — if convicted.
The Metropolitan Correction Center, a federal facility in Manhattan that is often used to house suspects awaiting or during trial, is considered one of the most secure penal establishments in the US.
The infamous Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman spent more than two years there before being convicted and transferred to a federal prison in Colorado.
Epstein’s death quickly raised questions about how he could take his own life despite reportedly being put on suicide watch after his first failed attempt.
“We need answers. Lots of them,” tweeted New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Paedophile Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in prison this morning. How the hell was he able to do this & escape justice?”, tweeted Piers Morgan, a media celebrity across the two sides of the Atlantic.
Here are some other tweets raising flags about the suspicious suicide:
Jeffrey Epstein’s death is way too convenient for the rich & powerful. The timing is also suspect- literally a day after the #EpsteinFiles release implicating people like Prince Andrew. ? #EpsteinSuicidepic.twitter.com/4pyKPxnLQ4
— Mamello (@EscapingPeony) August 10, 2019
This is similar to when the “DC Madame,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey, was found dead by suicide.
• Like Jeffrey Epstein she reportedly had a “black book”with dirt on major politicians who were “clients” of her sex trafficking ring.
• Both were found dead by hanging. #EpsteinFilespic.twitter.com/Cdi2QRcmQk
— Joe Gomez (@JoeGomezNews) August 10, 2019
This suspicious Jeffrey Epstein suicide is going to have conspiracy theorists going absolutely nuts.
It is kind of crazy that a super high profile man on 24 hr suicide watch is dead in his prison cell. #EpsteinFiles
— Andrew Goss ✊USAF✊ (@Goss30Goss) August 10, 2019
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the sudden death of the country’s most well connected pedophile linked to foreign powers and two presidents including the guy from the apprentice that Russia got elected got me acting strange#EpsteinFiles
— Benjamin Franklin ? (@benFranklin2018) August 10, 2019
How can you commit suicide while under 24 hour suicide watch? The high up Pedos pulling the puppet strings #EpsteinFiles
— Dr. Stephen Falken (@SeanPatrickTyl3) August 10, 2019
Epstein’s death came a day after thousands of court documents were unsealed from the ‘Guiffre v. Maxwell’ defamation suit filed in the Southern District of Florida district court in 2015.
At the time of filing, Virginia Roberts Guiffre had emerged as one Jeffrey Epstein’s most visible accusers, accusing his ex-girlfriend and close associate Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite , of participating in her abuse.
Maxwell publicly called Guiffre a liar, after which Guiffre sued her for defamation, and a total of 167 documents containing thousands of pages were filed under seal. Maxwell’s motion for a summary judgment, filed in January 2017, was denied by the district court in a largely redacted 76-page opinion.
“Guiffre v. Maxwell” was settled in May 2017, and the unsealing of the court documents comes as Epstein and the Southern District of New York are preparing cases for and against the financier, who isaccused on federal counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy. Epstein is currently being held in custody without bail, and has pleaded not guilty.
The “Guiffre v. Maxwell” court documents are expected to contain pertinent information concerning Epstein’s purported sex trafficking scheme, along with many of his high-profile associates and connections, including Prince Andrew, who has been pictured with Guiffre in widely disseminated photos. Guiffre has accused Prince Andrew of sexual assault, and has said Epstein, in conjunction with Maxwell, loaned her out to his friends and associates for sex.
Epstein, whose friends have included President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew, was convicted previously of paying young girls for sexual massages at his Palm Beach mansion.
But he avoided federal prosecution under a plea deal that required Epstein to admit to a single Florida state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor and register as a sex offender.
He served 13 months in a county jail before being released in 2009.
Last month, Alex Acosta resigned as US labor secretary amid a backlash over the deal that he negotiated with Epstein in that case while he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.