Barry Sherman, founder of pharmaceutical manufacturer Apotex and one of Canada’s richest men, was found dead in his Toronto home on Friday. Sherman’s wife Honey Sherman was also found dead on the scene.
According to the Associated Press, Toronto police are treating the deaths as “suspicious,” but stopped short of declaring them homicides.
Sherman, 75 at the time of his death, founded Apotex in 1974 and grew it into a worldwide supplier of generic drugs. Forbes has estimated Sherman’s net worth at $3.2 billion, making him the 12th wealthiest Canadian. Sherman stepped down as CEO of Apotex in 2012.
Sherman had been embroiled in family conflict. Sherman acquired Empire Laboratories in 1967, following the death of Sherman’s uncle Louis Winter and his wife Beverly within weeks of each other. In the acquisition deal, Sherman reportedly promised to share a mix of royalties and a stake in the company with Winter’s four orphaned children.
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Those cousins and their families have filed a series of suits against Sherman, Apotex, and the Royal Bank of Canada, a subsidiary of which executed Winter’s estate, since 2006. The cousins alleged that Apotex was founded in part using proceeds from Sherman’s later sale of Empire Laboratories, and that they were therefore owed a share of Apotex. A judge dismissed the suit in September of this year, calling the claims “beyond fanciful,” but the plaintiffs said they would appeal the decision.
Since the news of Sherman’s death, Canadian officials and dignitaries including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been sharing their shock and sadness, describing Sherman and his wife in glowing terms.