Former Houston Hand Surgeon, Who Had History of Abusing Women, Died

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Dr. Michael Brown, a Houston hand surgeon who was accused of assaulting women, including a flight attendant and two of his wives, has died, his lawyer confirmed to ABC News.

"For all his faults, he was a brilliant man and one of most generous men I ever knew. He loved his children, and he will be missed," Brown's attorney Dick DeGuerin said in a statement to ABC News.

Court documents show that Brown went into cardiac arrest on Oct. 24 and had been taken to a Miami hospital.

"Dr. Brown remains hospitalized and is incapacitated," an Oct. 28 court filing stated. "The extent of the damage he has suffered is unknown. However, it appears to be severe and, at this time, counsel has no ability to communicate with Dr. Brown."

He was taken off life support Thursday night, according to DeGuerin.

Brown was once considered one of the leading hand surgeons in the country, having developed an innovative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. His success led to enormous wealth. He was married four times.

"20/20" Report: The Dr. Michael Brown Story

But over the past decade, Brown ran into legal trouble. In 2000, Brown was arrested and charged with assault after his third wife, Darlina Barone, claimed he beat her while she was seven months pregnant with their second child. At the time, Michael Brown claimed he acted in self-defense.

Ultimately, he pleaded no contest to aggravated assault charges in exchange for 10 years' probation. In 2001, Darlina filed for divorce and was awarded a $3 million settlement.

Brown then met his fourth and now estranged wife Rachel Brown, who also later accused him of domestic violence. In 2011, Rachel recorded cellphone calls in which Brown was screaming at her and calling her obscene names. Those recordings became evidence in court after Rachel accused Michael Brown of twisting her arm as if he meant to break it. Prosecutors charged him with felony assault, but Brown was acquitted.

Then in January of this year, Brown, who now lived in Miami, was accused of grabbing and choking a flight attendant while on a flight back to the states from London. At the time, Brown's attorney claimed his client didn't recall the incident because he had taken stress relievers with alcohol.

Brown pled guilty to charges of "interference with flight crew members and attendants" and was to have started serving a 30-day jail sentence Oct. 25, but instead was rushed to the hospital the day before.

Simultaneously, Brown had been flying back and forth from Miami to Houston to attend bankruptcy hearings over his estate. Seven years ago, Brown lost his medical license after testing positive for cocaine. Afterward, the Brown Hand Centers started losing money and are now in Chapter 11.

According to ABC affiliate KRTK-TV, a trustee for Brown's estate placed Brown's debt at more than $37 million.

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