By Eli Meixler
December 18, 2017

Toronto’s homicide police have taken over the investigation into the mysterious deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman, after an autopsy report revealed that the prominent Toronto couple died from ligature neck compression, police said.

Barry Sherman, 75, and Honey Sherman, 70, were found dead in their home by their realtor on Dec. 15. in circumstances the police initially said “appear to be suspicious,” The Toronto Star reported. The couple’s home had been listed for sale for nearly $5.4 million.

Post-mortem examinations conducted revealed that the couple died of ligature neck compression, a type of strangulation, Toronto police said in a news release. Homicide Detective Brandon Price told CBC Radio Canada that police “cannot say 100 per cent with certainty” whether or not there was foul play, but said there were no signs of forced entry, and that police were not looking for any suspects.

Barry Sherman, founder of generic drug manufacturer Apotex, was one of Canada’s richest individuals, with a net worth of $4.77 billion, according to Canada Business magazine. Apotex confirmed the couple’s deaths in a statement, which praised Sherman’s expansion of the company from a two-person operation in 1974 to a global pharmaceutical giant with 11,000 employees.

Sherman was known for energetic lawsuits that aimed at opening markets to generic drugs, and had been writing a planned autobiography, which was expected to reveal a life of corporate intrigue and had “the makings of a page turner,” The New York Times wrote in 2006. The couple were also known as generous philanthropists.

Family members rejected early reports that the crime was being investigated as a possible murder-suicide.

“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 said in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences in Twitter message on Dec. 16, saying that he and his wife were “saddened by news.” “Our condolences to their family and friends, and to everyone touched by their vision and spirit,” Trudeau said.

Write to Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com.

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