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Royal Virgin Islands Police Investigating Death of Florida Doctor At Sea

ROAD TOWN, Tortola — The death of a Florida cardiologist in the British Virgin Islands is being investigated by police in this territory.

The body of Dr. Joseph Horgan was found December 20 in the waters near Tortola, according to the Royal Virgin Islands Police.

Horgan, 65, an avid sailor, had traveled to Tortola to check on the repairs to his 46-foot catamaran, B’Shert II, which had been damaged during 2017’s Hurricane Irma, his son Jason Horgan said Wednesday.

Authorities found the boat without Horgan aboard, the son said.

Joseph Horgan moved to South Florida in the early 1980s after completing his medical training in Connecticut.

He ran his private practice from an office in Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, Florida the hospital said.

Pembroke Pines is near Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale in southern Florida.

“We have so many friends who have reached out to us and said my father was a role model for them, as a father and parent,” Horgan said.

The family has also heard from hospital employees and colleagues.

“They would tell me my dad would go in when he was not on call or was off duty, to sit with patients and take care of them,” Horgan said. “It wasn’t just a job for him.”

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force said on its website that they are investigating the physician’s “sudden death,” and the process will include reviewing his personal medical records and interviews with any witnesses, as well as an autopsy examination.

Horgan’s survivors, including his wife Tobi Horgan and four adult children, four grandchildren, four adult stepchildren and four step-grandchildren, are hoping his remains are returned home to Sunrise soon.

Horgan said his stepmother was “absolutely devastated. She is the love of his life. She was his everything. And they would sail together a lot.”

He called his father a generous and compassionate man.

“During multiple hurricanes that have come through Florida, he would send truckloads of supplies after the storms, all the way back to [Hurricane] Andrew, to help people in their time of need,” Horgan said.

The physician preached a healthy diet and exercise, especially to those close to him.

“I was 12 years old and I got a book [from him] on atherosclerosis,” Horgan said. “It had scary pictures of an artery cut open and everything. It caused me to change the way I ate. He felt I was eating too much junk.”

Funeral plans are pending, according to surviving family members.

Dr. Joseph Horgan and his wife Tobi in the British Virgin Islands.
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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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