Autopsies being conducted on bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman

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

Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman and his wife were found dead in their mansion Friday afternoon, CTV reported Saturday.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of our founder, Dr Bernard C. Sherman, chairman of the board of the Apotex Group of Companies, at the age of 75, and his wife Honey Sherman", it said in a statement.

"The circumstances of their death appear suspicious and we are treating it that way", Hopkinson said at a news conference held outside the couple's home.

Mr. Sherman, 75, founded the privately held Apotex in 1974, growing it by introducing large numbers of low-priced generic drugs that took market share from brand pharmaceuticals.

Sherman's company Apotex released a statement late Friday confirming the deaths: "We've been informed of the tragic news that Barry and Honey Sherman have unexpectedly passed away". His wealth amounted to about $3 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which lists Sherman as the 12th richest Canadian businessman.

Const. David Hopkinson said emergency crews were dispatched out as a medical call initially to the Sherman home, located on Old Colony Road near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401, just before 11:45 a.m. Friday.

Police have been tight-lipped about the case and have not publicly updated the investigation Saturday.

The couple recently put up their home up for sale, and a real estate agent, who was preparing the house for an open-house viewing, discovered their bodies.

Investigators are still attempting to "determine if there is foul play involved or not", Detective Brandon Price told reporters, "and at this point we can not say 100% with certainty if there is or there is not".

Eric Hoskins, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care said he was saddened "beyond words".

The couple leave behind four children. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in healthcare.

The family was also known for its philanthropy. A very, very sad day.

Homicide detective Brandon Price said: "At this point we are not now seeking a suspect".

The Shermans have handed out millions of dollars to hospitals, universities and the United Jewish Appeal. For more than a decade, Barry Sherman had been involved in an acrimonious legal battle with three cousins and the widow of a fourth - sons of the uncle who instructed him in the generic-drug business that preceded Apotex.

Their neighbors, business associates and some of Canada's most powerful politicians said they were saddened by the deaths.

Mrs Sherman sat on the boards of several hospital, charitable and Jewish foundations, and last month was awarded a Senate medal for community service.

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