Businesswoman and “Shark Tank” personality Barbara Corcoran said she is “overwhelmed with sadness” over the loss of both her brother and all of the others who have died in the Dominican Republic in recent months.
Her brother, John, died in his hotel room in the Dominican Republic in April, Corcoran said in a statement on June 13.
“He loved the DR and vacationed there frequently. My brother had an existing heart condition and we believe he died of natural causes, but you’re still never ready for the death of a loved one,” Corcoran said in a post on Instagram.
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Corcoran and John were from a family with 10 children, a childhood the TV personality lauded on her social media before her brother’s death.
Eight deaths of tourists in the Dominican Republic recently have raised the concern of many. But Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the country is safe for travel.
“These cases are very regrettable, but isolated,” he said in a statement. “Investigation into them is a top priority for us and for the National Police. We are asking them to deploy all resources to help provide answers as quickly as possible.”
Corcoran also mourned the loss of the other tourists who died.
“I’m overwhelmed with sadness for the lost lives in the DR and my thoughts are with the families who have lost their loved ones. Thank you for all your thoughts and good wishes. I appreciate your love and kindness,” she said.
The death comes as at least seven other Americans have reportedly died in the Caribbean country in the last 12 months under suspicious circumstances, with the causes of death listed as one of or a combination of a heart attack, respiratory failure, and pulmonary edema, or a fluid build-up in the lungs.
The deaths began being reported after a Maryland couple, Cynthia Day, 49, and her fiance Nathaniel Holmes, 63, were found dead in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30.
JUST IN: The bodies of Cynthia Day and her fiancé Nathaniel Holmes are back in the U.S. https://t.co/IZWNNS9gm4
The couple was found dead at a resort in the Dominican Republic. pic.twitter.com/iKOzBlsQ95
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) June 11, 2019
Five days earlier, it was later revealed, as the couple was arriving at the resort, Pennsylvania woman Miranda Schaup-Werner suddenly collapsed and died at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville, a hotel in the same resort.
Families of other Americans who have died or gotten violently ill in the past year have been coming forward to tell their stories, saying the deaths have added to or triggered suspicions of what actually happened.
In one case, New Yorker Awilda Montes said she traveled to the Bouganville hotel in October 2018 and grabbed a bottle of soda from the minifridge in her room after arrival.
“When I took a swig of it, I kind of held it in my mouth the minute I held it, it just started burning,” Montes told Pix 11. “I ran to the bathroom when I spit it out there was blood, my mouth was on fire, my gums, everything was bleeding.”
She said she believes spitting out the liquid saved her life.
“I didn’t realize this could’ve been done on purpose, I just thought it was an accident someone mixed it up, but now I think it was done on purpose,” she said.
Relatives of a Californian man, 67-year-old Robert Bell Wallace, said that he was healthy before going to the Dominican Republic and staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana in April for his son-in-law’s wedding.
Wallace became sick at the resort and soon passed away.
“We didn’t find out until the next morning that he had passed, which is another weird thing,” Tickenhoff, Wallace’s son-in-law, told Fox 40. “My mom and brother had been in touch with the hospital and they didn’t reach out and tell us any answers until the next morning.”
Wallace’s illness started when he drank from a bottle of scotch he grabbed from the minibar in his room, his family said. They’ve since learned of the other deaths.
“It’s tough. I mean, you’re in the process of grieving a family member and then all these other instances come out where it just kind of adds to the pain of not knowing what happened,” Wallace’s son-in-law said.
The CNN Wire and NTD reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report