Dennis Shields Wife Breaks Silence After His Apparent Overdose Death

[UPDATE: Aug. 10, 5:04 p.m. ET - The medical examiner's office is investigating the death of a man believed to be Dennis Shields, found at the Trump Tower. The investigation is ongoing, and the NYC Chief Medical Examiner's Office will release cause and manner of death when completed.]

Dennis Shields' wife, Jill Shields, opened up about his death from an apparent overdose Friday morning.

"We are all heartbroken," Jill said in a statement to PEOPLE. "Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life. His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family's privacy at this time."

Shields and Jill Shields were married for 26 years. The couple split in 2016, before Shields started dating Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel.

Shields, 51, was reportedly found dead Friday morning at Trump Tower, where he lived. Sources told Page Six he asked an assistant to give him a dose of Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. He lost consciousness before the medication took effect. He was pronounced dead moments later.

Sources told Page Six Shields overdosed on OxyContin.

Shields was a banker, and the founder of Esquire Bank and crowd funding company Yield Street. He was also the CEO of LawCash, a Brooklyn firm that financed lawsuits against the city for clients.

Frankel and Shields had been friends for almost three decades, since Frankel went to high school with Jill Shields. The two started dating in 2016, the same year Frankel's divorce from second husband Jason Hoppy was finalized.

Frankel and Shields had an on-again, off-again relationship. Just days before his death, Shields told the Listen Up Show podcast they were still together as recently as four weeks ago.

In May, Frankel told Steve Harvey their relationship was complicated.

"We're trying to really kind of be good partners and be good teammates and I think relationships oddly are — and this sounds cold — but a little bit like business. If both people aren't happy about it but slightly uncomfortable and giving up something or giving in [to] something, it doesn't work. So both partners have to say, 'All right, I'm in it for this,'" the Skinnygirl founder said, reports PEOPLE. "And I think we might be at that point, believe it or not. I haven't said that to anyone yet."

A source told PEOPLE in February that Frankel and her daughter Bryn "love Dennis and his family," and they were a "support system" for Frankel during her divorce from Hoppy.

"They had a 27-year friendship before they dated, so they picked that up where they left off once they realized they didn't work as a couple," the source told the magazine. "Her daughter adores him and his family, and she comes first above all."


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