What we know about 'suspicious' deaths of Toronto billionaire couple

Barry Sherman, 75, and Honey Sherman, 70, died from ligature neck compression.

— -- Police in Toronto are investigating what they've deemed the "suspicious" deaths of a billionaire pharmaceutical founder and his wife.

Here's what we know:

A couple found dead

At 11:44 a.m. Friday, police responded to a home where they found Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife, Honey Sherman, 70, dead, the Toronto Police Service said in a statement Sunday.

According to The Toronto Sun, the Shermans had died on Thursday. A Toronto police source told The Globe and Mail that a real estate agent helping sell the couple's home had found the bodies.

While Toronto Police would not comment, The Toronto Sun reported that sources said the Shermans were found "side by side, in their windowless pool room, each with a men’s leather belt wrapped around their necks and tied to the pool railing."

Police said both died from "ligature neck compression."

Toronto Police Service Homicide is leading what the Toronto police on Sunday called a "suspicious death investigation."

However, on Friday, police said there were no signs of forced entry and they weren't looking for a suspect, The Associated Press reported.

Family doubts media reports of murder-suicide

According to The Globe and Mail, a Toronto police source and media reports this weekend said investigators' early theory was a murder-suicide.

But the Sherman family fired back, saying, "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. We are shocked and think it's irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true."

The family added, "We urge the Toronto Police Service to conduct a thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation, and urge the media to refrain from further reporting as to the cause of these tragic deaths until the investigation is completed."

Mourning the philanthropic billionaires

Barry Sherman founded Apotex, which is a global pharmaceutical organization that now "employs more than 11,000 people in research, development, manufacturing, and distribution in facilities around the world," according to a statement from the company.

Three years ago, he stepped down as CEO but remained chairman, according to Forbes.

Forbes estimated Barry Sherman's net worth at over $3 billion.

"Dr. Sherman gave his life to the singular purpose of our organization -- innovating for patient affordability," Apotex said in a statement. "Patients around the world live healthier and more fulfilled lives thanks to his life's work, and his significant impact on healthcare and healthcare sustainability will have an enduring impact for many years to come. As employees, we are proud of his tremendous accomplishments, honored to have known him, and vow to carry on with the Apotex purpose in his honor."

The Shermans were generous philanthropists who made multimillion-dollar donations to charities, hospitals and schools, the AP said.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau tweeted this weekend about the couple, saying, "Our condolences to their family & friends, and to everyone touched by their vision & spirit."

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins -- who called the couple "dear friends" -- wrote that they were "wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care."

"A very, very sad day," he said. "Barry, Honey, rest in peace."

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