Retired New Jersey businessman Jonathan Corcoran, brother of ABC-TV's "Shark Tank" judge Barbra Corcoran, has been the seventh confirmed death in a Dominican Republic hotel room, the latest in a string of mysterious fatal incidents with U.S. tourists visiting the vacation hot spot.
Jonathan Corcoran was reportedly found dead in his hotel room by a friend in April.
Emily Burke, an assistant to Corcoran, confirmed the real estate powerbroker's brother's death to Fox News. "John Corcoran passed away at the end of April in the [Dominican Republic] from what is believed to be natural causes," a statement from Burke said. "He loved and frequently visited the Dominican Republic. Barbara would like to respect the privacy of his children and is not releasing any other information at this time."
Corcoran told TMZ that Jonathan was in the Dominican Republic “with a friend in April on his yearly vacation when he died of a heart attack. At least, that's what she was told. As far as she knows, there's been no autopsy.”
“Barbara says her brother's friend — who was staying in the same suite — discovered the body, but nobody knows exactly what happened,” TMZ added.
Johnathan “was retired but owned a successful roofing company in New Jersey,” Corcoran told the outlet. “She calls him ‘my favorite brother’ among her 9 siblings and says he had a larger-than-life personality and would have been great on TV.”
"We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in April 2019 in the Dominican Republic," the U.S. State Department told Fox News. "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family for their loss. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide."
The FBI has confirmed that the agency is working with Dominican authorities to investigate the recent spate of sudden deaths of otherwise healthy vacationing Americans.
“The deaths have baffled people around the world because, among other things, they involved tourists whose families and friends described them as relatively healthy, and exhibiting no signs of illness before they fell sick,” a Fox News report said. “Dominican authorities cited nearly identical conditions, including pulmonary edema — where the lungs fill with fluid — for several of them. Some of the deceased who were said to have died of heart attacks had not displayed symptoms or had a heart condition, according to their families. ... Also, some of the tourists consumed a beverage from the room minibar before becoming suddenly ill. Scores of people who traveled to the Dominican Republic in recent years have reached out to Fox News with accounts of having fallen ill after having a beverage from their room minibar or buying one elsewhere in their resort. Others have described having gotten severely sick after smelling what seemed to be strong chemicals that they thought might have been insecticide or pesticides.”
The report noted that the “FBI's involvement has marked the first public indications that officials in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic have considered the possibility of something other than natural causes.”