Asmussen Assistant Toby Sheets Found Dead In Greece

Toby Sheets with Morello | Sarah Andrew

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Toby Sheets, a longtime assistant trainer to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, was found dead Sunday on a beach on the Greek Island of Mathraki, Sheets's family has confirmed to the TDN. Sheets's death is the most recent in a series of foreign tourists to disappear or be found dead on the Greek islands in the past week, according to the Associated Press. According to Reuters, Sheets was 55 years old.

The confirmation was provided by Greg Sheets, who said he was Sheets's cousin.

“He did pass away in Greece,” he said. “As of right now that's all we know. The family is trying to figure out what happened.”

Mathraki is a quiet island, west of the more popular Greek island of Corfu, with a population of 100 people.

“Toby was a part of our stable for many years, including our Belmont Stakes win with Creator, as well as his expert handling of Haynesfield among others,” Asmussen told the TDN. “He will be deeply missed by his family and many friends.”

Sheets's death was the latest in a series of incidents in which tourists in the Greek islands have died or gone missing. Some news outlets have speculated the cause is the extreme heat wave sweeping the country, with temperatures reaching near 100 degrees to parts of the country.

According to a CBS report, another tourist found Sheets's body in the old port of Mathraki and informed the police. Sheets was first reported missing on Thursday and was last seen alive Tuesday at a café in the company of two female tourists. According to the AP, the two tourists have since left the island. Mathraki's deputy mayor, Spyros Argyros, told the New York Times that the place where Sheets was found had previously been searched. “He was found in the surf on the beach at a spot which had already been searched, so it seems he was washed out of the sea in the past 24 hours,” Argyros told the Times. The Times reported that a friend called police after the door to Sheets's home was found open, with the lights and air conditioning on.

The cause of death was not disclosed, pending results of an autopsy.

According to ABC News, a coroner was dispatched to Mathraki Sunday to conduct a preliminary investigation. The body was to be taken to nearby Corfu, where the autopsy will be performed.

According to Athens News Agency, Sheets came to Mathraki to spend some vacation time with a Greek American friend. Mathraki has a population of just 100 and is a heavily wooded island covering 1.2 square miles.

Sheets's passing marked at least the third death of a tourist in recent days on Greece's Islands. The others were Dr. Michael Mosley, a British TV anchor and author, and a 74-year-old Dutch tourist. ABC News also reported that a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been missing since Tuesday. Two French women who went out for a walk Friday in the heat are also missing, according to the New York Times.

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