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UPDATE 1-Toronto homicide police take lead in probe of billionaires' deaths

(Adds details from police, background on deaths)

TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Canadian homicide detectives have taken the lead in investigating the mysterious deaths of pharmaceuticals billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey Sherman, after the couple were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Friday, police said on Sunday.

The development does not mean the deaths are being treated as a homicide, police spokeswoman Michelle Flannery told Reuters.

Autopsies conducted on Saturday determined that Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife, 70, died from ligature neck compression, police said in a statement. They asked anybody with information on the case to contact authorities.

Flannery would not say whether police were looking for a suspect. Police had said on Saturday they had nobody in custody and were not seeking any suspects.

Canadian newspapers have reported that the couple were found hanging from a railing by the side of their pool. Their bodies were found by a real estate agent involved with selling their house.

Barry Sherman founded Apotex Inc in 1974 and built it into one of the world's biggest generic drug makers, making him one of Canada's richest people.

The deaths stunned the country and drew condolences from political leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Jim Finkle and Peter Cooney)