Houston surgeon Michael Brown dies after being taken off life support

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter , Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

MIAMI, Florida - Former hand surgeon Dr. Michael Brown was a fixture on Houston TV for nearly two decades. Brown died in a Miami hospital Friday morning after doctors took him off life support. Now Brown's legal problems are continuing even after his death.

Most Houstonians met Dr. Michael Brown as he sold his Brown Hand Center on TV commercials.  Police say the man who helped so many with his treatment later hurt himself.  He was rushed to a Miami hospital after he was found near death in his home there.

A woman told police that Brown had been depressed about his ongoing divorce, financial problems and bankruptcy.  Police said a suicide note was also found on Oct. 24.  He died at the hospital on Friday morning.

"He was such a potential asset to all of humanity and it all went down the drain," said Rob Todd, an attorney who represented Brown for 11 years.

Todd, and others, used the same word to describe Brown -- troubled.

"He probably is the smartest man I ever knew along with the most troubled man I've ever known," Todd said.

Brown's troubles took him to a lot of court rooms, including a conviction for choking a flight attendant, a messy divorce and a bankruptcy case.  On Thursday, a trustee went to federal court and asked for permission to sell Brown's farm to help pay his debt. 

He also lost control of the chain of surgery centers that once bore his name. Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin says Brown's life became unhinged.

"Some of his closest associates turned against him, it was a bad situation," said DeGuerin.

DeGuerin says he last spoke to Brown two weeks ago.

"Very distraught, almost desperate because of what he'd been through," he said.

Court documents show two suitcases containing $3.2 million in cash, plus $1 million in artwork, furniture and jewelry are missing.

"He really did live a sad life. Again, he was extremely brilliant. Just extremely troubled," said Todd.

Brown was the founder and owner of the Brown Hand Center, among other businesses.

In 2006, he lost his medical license after testing positive for cocaine.

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