Barbara Corcoran's brother was found dead in his hotel room in the Dominican Republic, and the circumstances sound eerily familiar to the 6 mysterious tourist deaths in the country over the past year ... TMZ has learned.
The "Shark Tank" star tells us her brother, John, was in the D.R. 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.
Corcoran tells us John was retired but owned a successful roofing company in New Jersey. 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.
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We're told John loved visiting the Dominican Republic and was awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend before he died. There's been no funeral yet, but a memorial service is planned soon.
On the surface, a 60-year-old man dying of a heart attack might not be shocking ... but John's death comes amidst a bizarre and troubling trend of American tourists dying in D.R. hotels.
Six U.S. tourists have been found dead since June 2018 -- 2 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, and 4 at various Bahia Principe resorts. Three of the deaths were reportedly due to heart attacks, but one also lists pulmonary edema -- an accumulation of fluid in the lungs -- according to the death certificate.
A recently engaged couple from Maryland was found dead in their room in late May, and an autopsy reportedly found they also had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
The cause of death of the other tourist is unknown.
So far, the deaths are considered isolated incidents by D.R. tourism officials, but Dominican authorities are investigating and have asked the FBI for assistance for "further toxicology analysis."
Theories are beginning to circulate on what's causing the mysterious deaths -- including poisoning -- partly fueled by 2 other couples who stayed at Bahia Principe resorts and claim to have gotten violently ill.
One couple claims there was a "moldy, mildewy smell" in the room like the air conditioning system hadn't been clean, and another is suing the resort chain claiming they were exposed to insecticides.
It's unclear at this time where Barbara's brother was staying, or if he had anything from his room's minibar ... like some of the other deceased tourists.