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'Shark Tank' judge Barbara Corcoran's brother found dead in a Dominican Republic hotel

The tragic news comes amid a rash of deaths of US tourists in the popular Caribbean vacation spot and which have grabbed worldwide attention.

The brother of ABC's 'Shark Tank' judge Barbara Corcoran was found dead in a Dominican Republic hotel room in April this year. Corcoran's assistant Emily Burke confirmed the news of the death of retired New Jersey businessman Jonathan Corcoran to Fox news after it was first reported by TMZ.

The tragic news comes in the wake of a number of deaths of US tourists in the popular Caribbean vacation and which have grabbed worldwide attention.

Many of the tourists died mysteriously as they suddenly fell critically ill at their hotels, with cases being described as puzzling and suspicious by most grieving relatives.

"John Corcoran passed away at the end of April in the DR from what is believed to be natural causes," Burke wrote in a statement to Fox News. "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."

Barbara Corcoran at the Ketel Market at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Los Angeles, in partnership with longstanding LGBTQ ally, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

According to Corcoran, her brother had gone to the DR with a friend during his annual vacation. His lifeless body was discovered by the friend, who was sharing a suite with him. While TMZ did not report the exact cause of death, Corcoran told the outlet it was reportedly a heart attack, adding she wasn't aware if an autopsy was conducted on him. Furthermore, it is still unclear at this point which hotel Jonathan was staying at.

"We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in April 2019 in the Dominican Republic," the 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."

Teams of experts and inspectors from several international agencies have been deployed at Bahia Principe properties where some of the US tourists died. They are conducting tests at these establishments to unravel the mystery surrounding the recent spate of deaths in the country.

On Friday, the FBI confirmed they are assisting Dominican authorities in probes related to these deaths. That said, the involvement of the FBI and rounds of testing mark the first time authorities in the US and DR are considering the possibility of something other than natural causes.

Three American tourists have died at this Dominican Republic resort (Grand Bahia Principe)

Observers around the world are baffled at the deaths as they involved tourists whose friends and families described them as perfectly healthy and exhibiting no signs of illness before they suddenly fell sick.

Strangely enough, DR investigators cited nearly identical conditions for several of the cases, including pulmonary edema, where the lungs fill up with fluid. Meanwhile, others who died of heart attacks had never shown any symptoms or had a heart condition, their families said.