Prominent Toronto Jewish billionaire couple found dead at home

Police are investigating the deaths of Toronto billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman as “suspicious.”

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife Honey, 70, were found dead in their mansion Friday, and police said they were investigating the deaths as “suspicious.”

Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Saturday the deaths are suspicious based on what they know, but offered no other details. Police earlier said there were no signs of forced entry and there was no outstanding suspect they were going after.

Autopsies were performed Saturday on the bodies, but results have not yet been released.

Police were called to the Sherman home in an upscale neighborhood of north Toronto just before noon on Friday in response to a “medical complaint.”

There have been reports that the deaths involved a homicide-suicide scenario. The family disputed these allegations.

Family urges thorough, objective investigation

The Sherman family issued a statement Saturday urging police to conduct a “thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation” into their parents’ deaths and urged the media to avoid speculating on the cause of the deaths.

“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.

“I am beyond words right now,” Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins wrote in his tweet. “Incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care. A very, very sad day.”

Barry Sherman was the chairman of generic drug maker Apotex, which he founded in 1974 with two employees. It went on to become the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company.

Along the way he amassed a vast fortune, which Canadian Business magazine estimated at $4.77 billion Canadian (US$3.65 billion) to make him the 15th richest Canadians.

The company employs more than 10,000 people in research, development, manufacturing and distribution facilities world-wide, with more than 6,000 employees at its Canadian operations.

Sherman has also been an active philanthropist, including donating $50 million Canadian (US$39 million) to the United Jewish Appeal.

Active lobbyist for Liberal party

He had also become a lobbyist for the Liberal Party in recent years, but was criticized for holding a pay-for-access fundraiser at his home in August 2015, two months ahead of the Canadian federal election, which was attended by then-candidate Trudeau.

“Sophie and I are saddened by news of the sudden passing of Barry and Honey Sherman,” Trudeau said. “Our condolences to their family & friends, and to everyone touched by their vision & spirit.”

Honey Sherman was a member of the board of the York University Foundation. She also served on the boards of Mount Sinai’s Women’s Auxiliary, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the International American Joint Distribution Committee.

“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 company said in a statement.