MIAMI – Former Houston hand doctor Michael Brown has died after being taken off life support in a Miami hospital, attorney Dick DeGuerin told KHOU 11 News on Friday.
Brown, who was embattled in legal troubles, had been in the hospital since suffering a heart attack last month.
"This is a real tragedy. He was a brilliant man and for all of his faults, and he had many, he was one of the most generous human beings I ever knew," DeGuerin said.
An attorney for Rachel Brown, the hand doctor’s ex-wife, said the former doctor was declared brain dead Thursday night, and he was taken off life support around 9 a.m. Houston time on Friday.
"For all the bad things he’s done, he is still the father of her children," said Rachel’s lawyer, Marshall Davis Brown. "It’s a hard time for the family. Anytime somebody passes away, even if there are hard feelings between the people, there’s always the grief that we feel when we lose somebody important in their lives."
The former surgeon was the founder of the Brown Hand Center in Houston, which is now under new ownership. He became a familiar face due to his numerous television commercials.
In 2011, Brown went to trial after Rachel Brown, his fourth wife, claimed he physically assaulted her. He was found not guilty.
The explosive relationship made headlines because it contradicted the "family man" image Brown presented in the commercials featuring his family. Allegations that Rachel Brown cheated on him with former Astros star Jeff Bagwell added another layer of intrigue.
In 2002, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting his third wife, Darlina Barone, with a bed post while she was seven months pregnant. He was fined $1,500 and given 10 years of supervised probation.
In 2008, Barone asked for sole custody of their two children and to revoke Brown’s visitation privileges. She told a Harris County judge that her ex-husband had become increasingly erratic and violent, that a history of drug tests showed cocaine and Xanax in his system and resulted in the revocation of his medical license, and that she knew Brown to have driven with their children in the car after drinking and that the children were afraid to visit his home, according to court documents.
After his 2010 arrest for allegedly assaulting Rachel Brown, the former surgeon voluntarily forfeited his parental rights for his children with Barone.
More recently in September, Brown was sentenced to 30 days in federal prison for a disturbance on a flight from London to Miami.
Brown pleaded guilty in federal court in Florida to one count of assaulting and intimidating a flight crew member. He was arrested last January for choking the flight attendant and threatening to strip naked on the transatlantic flight. His attorney later blamed a reaction to mixing alcohol with an insomnia medication.