Canadian pharmaceutical billionaire, wife found dead in Toronto

Honey and Barry Sherman at the annual United Jewish Appeal fundraiser in Toronto in August, 2010. (The Globe and Mail/Janice Pinto/via Reuters)

TORONTO — (UPDATE – 10:54 a.m.) Canadian police said they were investigating the mysterious deaths of the billionaire founder of Canadian pharmaceutical firm Apotex Inc, Barry Sherman, and his wife, Honey, who were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Friday.

The two were found dead after police responded to a medical call just before noon (1700 GMT) at their home in an affluent section of northeast Toronto.

“The circumstances of their death appear suspicious and we are treating it that way,” said Constable David Hopkinson. Homicide detectives later told reporters gathered outside the home that there were no signs of forced entry.

Two bodies covered in blankets were removed from the home and loaded into an unmarked van on Friday evening. The property is listed for sale for nearly C$7 million ($5.4 million).

Sherman, 75, founded privately held Apotex in 1974. He stepped down as chief executive in 2012, but remained as executive chairman. Forbes has estimated his net worth at $3.2 billion.

Apotex employs 11,000 people and is the world’s No. 7 generic drugmaker, according to its website.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in statement that he was “shocked and heartbroken” to learn of the deaths, and noted 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,” he said.

Other politicians echoed that sentiment.

“I am beyond words right now,” Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins said in a tweet.“My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care. A very, very sad day.”

Apotex says it is the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical firm, with annual sales of more than C$2 billion. It has operations in more than 45 countries, including the United States.