MILLIONAIRE financier Jeffrey Epstein has died in prison in New York in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The US Bureau of Prisons said Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan at about 6.30am local time yesterday.

Officials said staff tried to revive him and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment, but the 66-year-old was pronounced dead.

The FBI has said it will investigate Epstein’s death.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed he had been in the jail’s Special Housing Unit, a heavily secured part of the facility that separates high-profile inmates from the general population.

US Attorney General William Barr said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death.

He said in a statement that his death in federal custody “raises serious questions that must be answered”, and he ordered the inspector general to open an investigation.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to the charges he was facing and would have faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Some of his accusers and their lawyers reacted with frustration to the news that the financier will not now have to face them in court.

“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people,” accuser Jennifer Araoz said in a statement.

Brad Edwards, a Florida lawyer for nearly two dozen other accusers, said it was “not the ending anyone was looking for”.

He added: “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility.”

In that case in 2008, a deal allowed Epstein to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.