Preliminary reports indicate the late Miami criminal defense attorney Richard Sharpstein died of a heart attack, his ex-wife, appellate attorney Janice Sharpstein, said Wednesday.
Richard Sharpstein, 63, an Akerman partner, was found dead Tuesday at his Miami Beach home by his housekeeper.
Janice Sharpstein said she heard from several law enforcement sources that preliminary findings point to a heart attack as the cause of death. The couple divorced Dec. 2 after 35 years of marriage,
“It makes me so sad because if he wasn’t alone he wouldn’t be dead,” she said through tears. “What a waste.”
Sharpstein said her ex-husband saw a cardiologist Nov. 17 and was given a clean bill of health. She said Richard Sharpstein had been careful about his health because his grandfather died of a massive heart attack at 62.
“He worked out a lot. We hiked throughout our whole marriage,” she said. “He was very conscious of his health.”
Richard Sharpstein also golfed regularly and was a member of the La Gorce Country Club, which sent out a notice of his death to its members.
Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said police are still investigating the death. Sharpstein’s funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Shalom, 4144 Chase Ave., Miami Beach.
Sharpstein was widely considered one of the best trial lawyers in Miami, and dozens of tributes poured in.
“I admired Richard as an attorney and later as a judge when he appeared in front of me,” former Third District Court of Appeal Chief Judge Juan Ramirez, Jr. wrote on the Daily Business Review website. “He was colorful but ethical and trustworthy. His arguments were well thought out and incisive. As a human being, he was a great guy. We will miss him.”
Akerman announced Wednesday it will honor Sharpstein with a donation to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Foundation for Criminal Justice in support of its education and training programs to improve indigent defense in federal and state courts.
“Richard’s passing has triggered an outpouring of emotion and sorrow for the loss of a truly exceptional man with a charismatic and engaging personality, a warm and generous spirit and a tremendous sense of humor,” said Andrew Smulian, chairman and CEO of Akerman. “Renowned for his uniquely animated style and spirited way with words, Richard’s skills as a trial lawyer were quite extraordinary as was his commitment to his clients.”
Sharpstein is survived by his parents, Sid and Marilyn Sharpstein of Boca Raton, and three children, Jessica, Catherine and Michael.