NEW YORK (AP) _ A scion of the internationally known Rothschild family collapsed on a Manhattan sidewalk and died of an apparent drug overdose following a downtown party, officials said.

Authorities said Raphael de Rothschild, 23, died on the afternoon of April 22 outside a Chelsea loft. William Corbin, a friend of Rothschild, was later arrested and charged with heroin possession, according to police.

Corbin has denied any involvement with the death.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner, said toxicology results were pending. But a police source told the Daily News, ``We have little doubt he died of a drug overdose.''

Like the Rockefellers in the United States, the Rothschilds played a major role in French business and culture. They helped make Paris one of the most significant financial capitals in Europe, and are famed for their wineries in the Bordeaux region, including the baron's Chateau Clark.

The family gained prominence by financing such massive projects as European railroads and the British military campaign that led to the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in June 1815.

With their vast wealth, they acquired first-rate art and period furnishings, much of which has been donated to French museums like the Louvre. The current generation of the family expanded to both London and New York.

Raphael's father, Nathaniel de Rothschild, heads an $8 billion financial services company.