Autopsies cast more mystery on deaths of billionaire and wife


Homicide detectives in Toronto have taken over the investigation into the deaths of pharmaceutical billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife after autopsies revealed they each died from ligature neck compression.

Police in Toronto found the bodies of Sherman, 75, and his wife, Honey, 70, on Friday in their North York home after the couple’s real estate agent entered their recently listed $6.9 million dollar mansion because he couldn’t reach them. Their bodies were found near an indoor pool, a police source told the Toronto Star.

The Toronto Police Service announced late Sunday that both died from “ligature neck compression” following autopsies conducted over the weekend. Police initially said the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the philanthropist couple appeared “suspicious,” but also acknowledged no signs of forced entry and that no suspects were being sought.

A police source told the Globe and Mail that the couple’s bodies were found hanging from a railing surrounding the pool. Investigators were initially eyeing the possibility that Sherman may have killed his wife before taking his own life, a police source told the newspaper — prompting the couple’s four children blasted “irresponsible” leaks by detectives and called for a thorough criminal probe.

“Our parents shared an enthusiasm for life and commitment to their family and community totally inconsistent with the rumors regrettably circulated in the media as to the circumstances surrounding their deaths,” the statement read. “We are shocked and think it’s irresponsibly that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true.”


Sherman founded the generic drug company Apotex in 1974 and had a net worth of roughly $3.65 billion, making him the 15th richest person in the country, according to Canadian Business magazine.

Together with his wife, the Shermans were among Canada’s most generous philanthropists, making many million-dollar donations to schools, hospitals and charities. Barry Sherman was also known as a “shrewd, combative” businessman who still worked long hours and drove modest cars despite massive personal wealth, the New York Times reports.

Some friends and associates of the couple said they couldn’t believe that the couple died in a murder-suicide, as the Shermans had just welcomed a new grandchild and appeared to be enjoying every aspect of their lives.

“There is absolutely zero debate in my mind, this was a double homicide,” Linda Frum, a Canadian senator and close friend of the couple, told the New York Times. “The idea that Barry would ever harm Honey – he adored her. That’s impossible. He was a gentle, good man.”


Fred Waks, a real estate developer and close friend of the Shermans, told the newspaper that Barry Sherman had business dealings spanning the globe.

“His lawsuits pertained to billions of dollars, back and forth,” Waks told the New York Times. “When you are dealing with the size of that industry and the amounts we are talking about, you make enemies. And you make enemies on a global basis.”

Barry Sherman was also an active fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party. The prime minister was among many prominent Canadians who were saddened by the Shermans’ deaths, sending condolences on Twitter to “everyone touched by their vision and spirit.”

Another friend of the couple said Barry Sherman remained as focused as ever on his work, devoting nearly all of his time and energy to a company he started with just two employees before growing it into a pharmaceutical empire.

“Barry liked to do one thing: work,” Murray Rubin, a retired pharma colleague, told the Globe and Mail. “He worked seven days a week and he loved it.”

Asked if the couple could have died in a murder-suicide, Rubin replied: “That is impossible.”

With Post wires


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