Toronto police have released autopsy details from their investigation into the sudden death of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey Sherman.

The billionaire philanthropists were found dead at their home in the St. Andrew-Windfields area near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401 on Friday morning.

“Post-mortem examinations were carried out yesterday and today. The cause of death for both deceased was ligature neck compression,” Toronto police said in a news release Sunday evening.

Ligature neck compression refers to strangulation that occurs as the result of a rope or some other sort of ligature being wrapped around the neck, CP24 Crime Specialist Steve Ryan said.

Police sources have told CTV News that the two bodies were found hanging inside the home.

In the news release Sunday, Toronto police said that homicide detectives have now taken over the case, though it is still classified as a suspicious death investigation.

Investigators have previously said that there was no sign of forced entry at the home and that they are not currently looking for any outstanding suspects.

While there has been rampant speculation about the death of the couple, their family released a statement Saturday urging police “to conduct a thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation” and also asked the media to refrain from speculating.

“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,” the Sherman family said in a statement released by Apotex on Saturday afternoon.

Funeral planning underway

The death of the prominent couple has sent shockwaves through the business and philanthropic circles in which they moved, with condolences pouring in to the family from organizations, politicians and friends.

In an interview with CTV News Toronto Sunday, Postmedia Chair Paul Godfrey said he knew the couple for 30 years through the Toronto social scene and as neighbours in the same condominium complex in Florida.

“The Shermans were great philanthropists – they gave millions of dollars to many causes – from Baycrest, to Mount Sinai, to Sick Kids Hospital,” Godfrey said. “Honey Sherman in particular has been a fountain of strength to the charitable community. Barry was probably the workaholic that many people try to compete with but can’t.”

Godfrey said he’s hopeful that Toronto police will eventually put together the “missing pieces of the puzzle” to determine what happened to the couple. In the meantime, he said their deaths will leave a hole in the community.

“I think they’ll be missed because you don’t get a couple that works so hard and gives so much in the community so often,” Godfrey said. “They were true leaders.”

In a statement Sunday one of the organizations the couple worked with closely said that the Sherman family is handling the funeral arrangements, though the plans have not yet been made public.

“The Sherman family is planning the funeral. UJA is lending any help that we can to allow them to carry out their wishes. The family has not finalized any plans yet,” United Jewish Appeal said in a statement to CP24.

Further details about the funeral are expected to be released in the next day or two.