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Girlfriend Writes About Struggling After Sharpstein's Suicide

MIAMI (CBS4) – The life of renowned Miami Criminal Defense attorney, Richard Sharpstein, may have ended suddenly, but the leading lady in his life hopes to continue his legacy.

On December 10th, 2013, 63-year old Sharpstein was found dead in his apartment bathtub.

According to the Medical Examiner's report, sleeping pills that had Ambien and Benadryl in them were found in his system. The cause of Sharpstein's death was drowning and was listed as a suicide.

It's been four months since Sharpstein's death and his girlfriend, Debra Leibowitz, still mourns.

Leibowitz said this beloved well-known and well-respected attorney would light up a courtroom or any room that he walked into. He was quick-witted and defended everyone, from cocaine cowboys to troubled cops.

She still struggles to get over Sharpstein's unexpected death.

"It's been the most horrific thing I've ever experienced. I don't think I've loved anyone so much. It's really hard," said Leibowitz.

Leibowitz, who is also a Miami Herald columnist, wrote an article giving advice on how to deal with someone who is grieving. Since then, she has been overwhelmed with the responses.

"The replies have been in the hundreds. I've never gotten such a reply to anything I've written in 15 years," said Leibowitz.

"Take me out. Take a walk with me and accept the fact that I cry a lot," Leibowitz wrote. "Don't ask me if I feel better. I don't have the flu that runs its course in two weeks."

According to Leibowitz, the article is now used in bereavement and suicide prevention meetings and to help treat people with depression. She said she's happy she could pass along something helpful while still making suggestions on how to deal with those grieving.

The pain for Leibowitz is still horrific and she doesn't know how long it will last.

"I'm trying to piece back together a life without Richard but it's hard. It's very hard," said Leibowitz.

Her article ends by asking people to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Richard Sharpstein Humanitarian Fund.

"I feel it's my duty to carry his name forward," said Leibowitz.

Her goal was originally $25,000 but the well-loved lawyer's fund received that in just weeks.

Now, Leibowitz has extended the goal. The funds collected will support the homeless, something Sharpstein was passionate about.

For more information on how to donate visit Richard Sharpstein's Humanitarian Fund.


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