Tragic Passing of Canadian Billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman (Apotex)

Updated on January 9, 2018

One of the biggest shocks of 2017 was news of the deaths of Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey Sherman. They were discovered dead at their home on December 15, 2017. Police issued a brief statement saying that the couple both died from "ligature neck compression," but the department refused to comment further. The statement said homicide detectives have taken the lead on investigating the deaths, which have been classified as "suspicious."

Barry (born Bernard) Sherman founded Apotex, a Canadian pharmaceutical corporation in 1974. The company is the largest producer of generic drugs in Canada, with sales exceeding C$1 billion a year.

Apotex says that Mr. Sherman hadn’t been involved in day-to-day operations since he stepped down as chief executive officer five years ago.

With an estimated net worth of US$3.2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, Sherman was the 12th-wealthiest Canadian. Another publication, Canadian Business, stated his fortune at $4.77 billion (CAD), ranking him the 15th richest in Canada.

Despite an ongoing Toronto police investigation into the deaths, the couple’s family has hired a former homicide detective to look into the case. Citing police sources, multiple media outlets reported that investigators were working on the theory that the Shermans died in a murder-suicide. The couple’s family rejects that theory and has hired their own private investigator to look into the case. Brian Greenspan, the family’s lawyer, confirmed that former Toronto police detective Thomas Klatt has been hired to conduct a separate investigation. Mr. Greenspan says the Toronto Police Service’s early statements about the case invited the public to wrongly infer that the couple’s deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.

The real estate agent who had been helping to sell the mansion found the bodies. The Shermans had just put their house on Old Colony Road up for sale for $6.9-million.

A Toronto police source said the bodies were found at the edge of their basement pool, hanging from a railing that surrounded the pool. Investigators are working on the theory that Mr. Sherman killed his wife, hung her body and then hanged himself at the pool's edge, the source said.

Police, firefighters and paramedics responded to a 911 call for a medical emergency at 11:44 a.m., Constable Hopkinson said. But he would not say who made the call. He said the pair were pronounced dead at the scene.

There was no sign of forced entry to the home. There was no note left behind to explain what had happened.

Organizers estimated 6,000 people attended the December 21st memorial service at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory were also among those gathered.

A Wall Street Journal article describes the personality of the couple.

Barry Sherman was stiff in social settings and suffered from what he called chronic lethargy and fatigue. He wrote in a memoir that life had no meaning or purpose. When Barry was 10, his father died of a heart attack. “I do not recall feeling any great sense of loss upon my father’s death,” he wrote.

“He would correct your grammar no matter who you were,” Jack Kay, a colleague, said at a memorial service. “He pretty well thought he was smarter than everyone else, and he wasn’t wrong about that.”

Unlike her husband, Honey Sherman was known for her sunny disposition. She helped steer the couple’s social and philanthropic activities.

Canadian Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has announced that Dr. Sherman has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He is awarded the distinction for "his entrepreneurship in the pharmaceutical industry and for his unwavering support and commitment to education and charitable causes."

The Order of Canada advisory council, which decides who gets the award, granted it to him at their November meeting. Payette signed the appointment prior to his death.

A Rideau Hall spokeswoman says a family member can stand in for Sherman at the investiture ceremony, likely some time in 2018.

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 weeks ago from the short journey

      How sad. Hopefully the family will have the answers they seek before long.

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