Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who was long dogged by accusations of sexual abuse of girls and who was able to cultivate an array of high-profile friends despite his lurid lifestyle, killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell, officials said on Saturday.
Mr. Epstein’s death quickly reverberated from New York to Washington to Florida, spurring federal inquiries into why he was not being more closely monitored and angering his accusers, who said they had hoped to have his crimes aired in open court.
Mr. Epstein hanged himself, and was found at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, officials said.
Mr. Epstein was placed on suicide watch after the incident on July 23 and received a daily psychiatric evaluation, according to a person familiar with his detention. He was removed from suicide watch on July 29 and returned to the special housing unit, a segregated area of the prison with extra security, this person said.
The authorities did not immediately explain why he was taken off suicide watch. The F.B.I. said it was investigating, and Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement that a special inquiry would be opened into what happened.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Mr. Barr said. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.”