(SL) -Barry Sherman and his wife Honey were loved in their community and their deaths have shocked the residents of Toronto’s affluent North York neighborhood.
Barry Sherman, 75, was the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical giant Apotex and one of the richest people in the world. Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion, earning him the 12th spot on the list of the wealthiest Canadians. He’d appeared on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires for 15 years.
Him and his wife were known to be quite charitable giving away a sizeable amount of their money doling out tens of millions of dollars to universities, hospitals and the United Jewish Appeal, according to the Globe and Mail. Honey Sherman was a board member at several institutions: York University, the Baycrest Foundation and Mount Sinai Hospital. She had been chair of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and the Holocaust Education Centre.
Their bodies were found December 15th in the lowest level of their $7 million home by a real estate agent preparing the mansion for an open house. Authorities are calling the deaths suspicious after the billionaire couple were found strangled, their bodies dangling from the railing around their basement lap pool.
Toronto police say both died of “ligature neck compression,” a form of strangulation in which a cord or rope is used to exert fatal pressure on a person’s neck.
The Toronto Star reported that police were possibly investigating a murder-suicide, but relatives dismissed that theory and released a statement, saying:
“We are shocked and think it’s irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true. We urge the Toronto Police Service to conduct a thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation, and urge the media to refrain from further reporting as to the cause of these tragic deaths until the investigation is completed.”
The Shermans weren’t known to have many enemies. His business strategies didn’t leave Barry as the most liked, but he was respected. There are reports of a family rift that has been lingering between Barry, three cousins and the widow of a fourth.
The Washington Post reports, the cousins were sons of his Uncle Louis Winter who instructed him in the generic-drug business that preceded Apotex and died in 1965.
For more than a decade, a legal battle with Winter’s sons carried on and at one point they accused Barry of plotting to kill their dad who had been a father figure to Barry after his own father died.
The original suit was dismissed in 2015 but reinstated a year later, according to Forbes. A judge ruled in favor of Sherman in September, but the cousins have appealed.
It’s unclear what turn the suit will take now in the wake of Sherman’s death.