The last few years of Stuart M. Irby's life were filled with controversy and legal trouble. Jackson Police have confirmed that the once prominent businessman took his own life Tuesday evening.
Hinds County coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart ruled Irby's death a suicide based on evidence at his home at 3940 Stuart Place in northeast Jackson. Irby's body was discovered by his caretaker shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The caretaker notified police, and JPD spokeswoman Colendula Green described what investigators saw when they entered Irby's home in the Eastover subdivision.
"He was found in his residence lying on the floor," Green said. "It's an apparent suicide."
The caretaker told police that he last spoke with Irby at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday before leaving the home, and there was no indication that anything was wrong. When the caretaker, who supervises Irby's property and medical needs, returned to the house, he found Irby dead.
"According to the coroner it's an apparent suicide," Green reiterated. "No signs, no indication of foul play."
Irby was a longtime Jackson businessman who had been known for his philanthropic work throughout the state until February 2009 when he was involved in a fatal, head-on accident. His ex-wife Karen Irby was at the wheel of their Mercedes when the car collided with a truck on Old Canton Road.
Two doctors, Daniel Mark Pogue and his fiance, Lisa Dedousis, were killed. Karen Irby admitted she had been drinking and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years.
Karen Irby was granted clemency by former governor Haley Barbour last week and is now under house arrest.
In 2010, Stuart Irby settled a $60 million lawsuit filed by the Pogue and Dedousis estates for an undisclosed amount.
In 2011 an indictment was dropped against Stuart Irby for cyberstalking. He had been accused of photoshopping a picture of a 17-year-old girl onto the body of a swimsuit model.
An independent psychiatric evaluation requested by the Madison County District Attorney showed Stuart Irby suffered from severe permanent brain injury from the 2009 accident and was incapable of making reasoned decisions.
Grisham-Stewart confirmed to WLBT that Irby had been suffering from severe depression.
"It is an apparent suicide by ligature hanging," Grisham-Stewart said. "He was found in the stairwell of his home. No autopsy is being ordered. He'll be transported to Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home."
Police would not confirm whether Irby left a suicide note.
"I'm not sure what evidence is being recovered at this time, but I'm quite sure detectives are on scene trying to determine that as well," Green said.
We were told Irby used a rope to take his life. Family members and friends gathered at the home but did not talk with the media. Stuart Irby was 58 years old.