Canadian billionaire couple found dead in their mansion basement

Apotex Chairman and CEO Barry Sherman. GETTY IMAGES  The Toronto Star  Dick Loek

Apotex Chairman and CEO Barry Sherman. GETTY IMAGES The Toronto Star Dick Loek

A Canadian billionaire and his wife were found dead in their home on Friday in what police have called "suspicious" circumstances.

The founder and chairman of Apotex, Bernard Sherman, and his wife Honey were found dead inside their North York mansion, in Toronto, Canada, on Friday.

Police said they learned of the deaths after responding to a midday (1700 GMT) medical call at the Sherman's home in an affluent section of northeast Toronto.

Police have said that they are treating their deaths as "suspicious" but have not handed over the investigation to the homicide unit at this point.

Calling the deaths "tragic", Apotex tweeted to say everyone at the company, which employs around 16,000 staff worldwide, was "deeply shocked and saddened".

He is estimated to be worth almost $5 billion and is believed to be the 15th richest person in Canada.

Police said later Friday evening that they are not now seeking any suspects but are keeping an open mind on all possibilities.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins sent a tweet expressing shock at the death of his "dear friends", who he described as "wonderful human beings". The company undercut name-brand drugs by producing cheaper generic versions.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Twitter he is "heartbroken" to learn of the deaths.

"I have had the privilege of knowing them both for many years", said Mr Tory. "Incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care". The couple made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities and had buildings named in their honour.

The couple had donated millions across the city, from the United Jewish Appeal to the United Way. "Their loss will be felt by our organization, our community, and our country".

Canadian media said the Shermans had recently put their home up for sale with a price of around Can$7 million ($5.5 million/4.6 million euros). Neighbours confirmed that the property was the couple's home.

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