SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Friends and family Thursday mourned the death of a prominent veterinarian from San Diego known for his work with the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.
Dr. Anthony "Tony" Basher, 54, was found dead in a burning car Friday evening in a rural area north of Tucson, Ariz., his former wife, Dr. Kim Basher, told U-T San Diego.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department said the official cause of death was pending, but Kim Basher said the fire was an accident, according to the newspaper. She said the English-born Basher had been staying at a colleague's house near the site of fire following a "bitter" dismissal from Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley.
The Mercedes-Benz in which Basher died belonged to the owner of the home where he was staying, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department. It was fully engulfed when firefighters reached the scene, where an area resident was trying to extinguish the flames with a garden hose.
An investigation was under way to determine what sparked the fire and why Basher remained in the driver's seat.
Basher, a specialist in ophthalmology, had worked for Veterinary Specialty Hospital for 15 years prior to his termination several months ago, U-T San Diego reported. Since leaving, he had been working for Eye Care for Animals clinics in Tucson, Temecula and Santa Monica, his former wife said.
Basher's death was the second tragic loss for his family this year. His former wife told U-T San Diego that the couple's only child, a 14-year-old daughter, died in June. Details about her death were not reported.