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Family of Jewish Canadian billionaire Barry Sherman rejects 'murder-suicide' theory

Police confirm the couple died from strangulation in the basement of their Toronto home

    Barry Sherman (file photo)
    Barry Sherman (file photo) Photo: Apotex

    The family of a Jewish Canadian billionaire and his wife have disputed media reports that police are investigating their recent deaths as a murder-suicide.

    The bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman were found in the basement of their Toronto home by an estate agent on Friday.

    Mr Sherman, 75, was the founder and chair of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, which sells generic medicines around the world.

    A police statement issued on Sunday said the couple died from “ligature neck compression” – meaning strangulation. They previously described the circumstances of their deaths as suspicious.

    According to police there was no sign of forced entry to their home, which they were trying to sell.

    Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted to express his sadness at the deaths.

    He wrote: “Our condolences to their family & friends, and to everyone touched by their vision & spirit.”

    Detective Brandon Price told Canadian broadcaster CBC that they were investigating the idea there was foul play involved.

    Constable David Hopkinson confirmed: “The circumstances of their death appear suspicious and we are treating it that way.”

    Local media said the case is being investigated as a possible murder-suicide.

    But a family statement rejected this claim.

    It read: “Our parents shared an enthusiasm for life and commitment to their family and community totally inconsistent with the rumours regrettably circulated in the media as to the circumstances surrounding their deaths.”

    The family called for a thorough criminal investigation and asked “for the media to stop reporting on the cause of the deaths until the investigation was finished.”

    Mr Sherman, who had four children, was a prominent philanthropist and donated a record US$50 million (£37.5 million) to the United Jewish Appeal.

    Police cars parked outside the home of billionaire Barry Sherman on Saturday
    Police cars parked outside the home of billionaire Barry Sherman on Saturday Photo: AP

    As the founder and chair of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, which sells generic medicines around the world, he was one of Canada’s wealthiest men with a reported personal net worth of £2.4 billion.

    Friends and officials who knew the couple shared their shock at the news.

    On Twitter Ontario's Health Minister Eric Hoskins, wrote: “I am beyond words right now.

    “My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care.”

    Senator Linda Frum said: “Today I am gutted by the loss of Honey and Barry Sherman. Our community is steeped in grief. I am heartbroken.”

    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.”

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