CANBERRA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has described the death of a diplomat in New York as "a tragedy."

Julian Simpson, the second secretary to the Australian Mission to the United Nations (UN), died on Wednesday night when he fell from a seventh floor balcony at his Manhattan apartment block.

Authorities investigating the death said he had been drinking alcohol with his wife and friends when he sat on the balcony railing and lost his balance.

Media in the U.S. have reported he was playing "a game of trust," but the New York Police Department (NYPD) was not able to confirm those reports.

Turnbull on Thursday said he was shocked to hear of the death of the 30-year-old.

"It is a tragedy, our hearts go out to his family but I can't provide any more details at this stage," he said on Australian breakfast television on Thursday.

"It's a shocking tragedy, a young life lost."

Earlier on Thursday, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was providing "consular assistance" to Simpson's family who had "requested privacy at this time."

Simpson had worked as an Australian representative to the UN in New York for two years and had recently taken part in a 55-member conference on sustainable development in Ecuador.

Julie Bishop, Australia's Foreign Minister, said she met Simpson on a recent trip to the UN, describing him as a "a bright, engaged, clever young man" with "a bright future ahead of him."

"He will be remembered as someone dedicated to the service of our nation as a member of Australia's foreign service," Bishop said in a statement on Thursday.

"I ask that the media and others respect the privacy of Julian's family at this difficult time."