Real estate agent finds billionaire clients dead, homicide probe launched

Toronto, Canada, police investigating the 'suspicious deaths' of pharma tycoon and his wife

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On Friday, Dec. 15, Barry Sherman, a self-made billionaire in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, and his philanthropist wife, Honey, were found dead by the real estate agent helping to sell their $7 million mansion in a wealthy Toronto neighborhood, according to news story published Dec. 16 by the Toronto Star, a daily Canadian newspaper, and a subsequent report by the Washington Post. Their deaths are now being investigated as a possible homicide, according to a news release broadcast Sunday by the Toronto Police Service.

The agent, who remains unnamed, came by the Sherman’s home in north Toronto after attempting and failing to reach the couple with the intent to prep the property for an open house, news reports said.

The Toronto PS responded to a medical call and later determined that Barry, formerly the chairman and founder of generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Apotex; and Honey, who was a staple in the Jewish community, having served as chair of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and the Holocaust Education Centre, according to the Washington Post; died from “ligature neck compression.” The couple had been found hanging from the railing that surrounded their indoor pool in the basement, according to a CNBC article published Monday, which also reported that Barry had a long history of legal disputes.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Star wrote that one of these disputes was reportedly a lawsuit against the builders of the Sherman’s home for which the Shermans recouped $2 million in 2006.

On Saturday the Toronto PS had confirmed with the Toronto Star that the deaths at the time were being investigated as a possible murder suicide — which the Sherman’s four children vehemently denied to the media — but Toronto PS Homicide has now taken over the investigation and is calling for community members to call, text or message their Crime Stoppers team if they have any tips on what may have happened.

The mansion, located at 50 Old Colony Road and reportedly worth $6.9 million, has been removed from the MLS, and there’s no word if the home will be put back on the market in the future.

“Sophie (Grégoire Trudeau) and I are saddened by news of the sudden passing of Barry and Honey Sherman,” wrote Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on Twitter Friday. “Our condolences to their family & friends, and to everyone touched by their vision & spirit.”

Email Marian McPherson.