Canadian police probe 'suspicious' deaths of billionaire couple

Image: Honey and Barry Sherman

Honey and Barry Sherman, Chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc., are shown at the annual United Jewish Appeal (UJA) fundraiser in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24, 2010. Picture taken August 24, 2010. STRINGER / Reuters

Their neighbors, business associates and some of Canada's most powerful politicians said they were saddened by the deaths.

"Our condolences to their family & friends, and to everyone touched by their vision & spirit," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement he was "shocked and heartbroken" to learn of the deaths, noting that the couple had made extensive contributions to the city.

"Toronto Police are investigating, and I hope that investigation will be able to provide answers for all of us who are mourning this tremendous loss," Tory said.

The Shermans recently listed their home for sale for nearly $5.4 million. A real estate agent discovered the bodies in the basement while preparing for an open house, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported, citing a relative.

Sherman, 75, founded privately held Apotex in 1974, growing the company by introducing large numbers of low-cost generic drugs that took market share from branded pharmaceuticals. He stepped down as chief executive in 2012 but remained executive chairman.

Forbes has estimated Sherman's fortune at $3.2 billion.

Apotex is the world's No. 7 generic drugmaker with 11,000 employees and annual sales of more than C$2 billion in more than 45 countries, according to its website.

The couple was known for their philanthropy, giving tens of millions of dollars to hospitals, universities and Jewish organizations, CBC reported.

"They were extremely successful in business, but also very, very giving people," former Ontario Premier Bob Rae told CBC. "It's going to be a very, very big loss."

Image: One of two bodies is removed from the Sherman's home in Toronto

One of two bodies is removed from the home of billionaire founder of Canadian pharmaceutical firm Apotex Inc., Barry Sherman and his wife Honey, who were found dead under circumstances that police described as "suspicious" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, December 15, 2017. CHRIS HELGREN / Reuters

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