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Billionaire founder of Canada drug company, wife found dead at home

17 December 2017

Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman and his wife were found dead in their mansion Friday, and police said they were investigating the deaths as suspicious. A police detective, Brandon Price, described the deaths only as "suspicious".

Barry Sherman founded Toronto-based Apotex Inc.in 1974 with two employees and gradually turned it into the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company.

Apotex said in a statement: "All of us at Apotex are deeply shocked and saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time".

The Shermans' sudden death brought swift condolences from the highest rungs of Canadian society and government, including from the organizations they had spent years supporting and from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadian Business magazine estimated Sherman's worth at $4.77 billion Canadian (US$3.65 billion).

Police said they learned of the deaths after responding to a midday (1700 GMT) medical call at the Sherman's home in an affluent section of northeast Toronto.

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He declined to release the age of the victims, where they were found in the house, whether a weapon was recovered, whether the bodies showed signs of trauma, and who found the bodies.

Their bodies were discovered by an estate agent who was setting up an open house for the luxury property, which had recently been put up for sale for $6.9m Canadian dollars (over £4m).

Police have been tight-lipped about the case and have not publicly updated the investigation Saturday.

The Globe and Mail cited a police source as saying the Shermans' bodies were found hanging from a railing around a basement pool, the theory being that "Mr Sherman killed his wife, hung her body and then hanged himself at the pool's edge". "My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead".

Police did not say who made the call, while the National Post reported that the bodies were initially discovered by a real estate agent, who came to the couple's luxury mansion, which is now up for sale.

The family was also known for its philanthropy. "Incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care. Barry, Honey, rest in peace".

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The couple leave behind four children.

The company, which made its name producing generic drugs, grew to employ more than 11,000 people worldwide.

Sherman was born in Toronto, Canada in 1942 and was the youngest to ever enter into the University of Toronto's Engineering Science program at age 16.

In a statement, Mayor Tory said he was "shocked and heartbroken" to learn of the deaths, and noted the couple's generous contributions to the city.

Police said later Friday evening that they are not now seeking any suspects but are keeping an open mind on all possibilities.

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Billionaire founder of Canada drug company, wife found dead at home