UPDATE: Mohammed Shamji pleads guilty to second-degree murder in wife's death

A Toronto neurosurgeon accused of killing his physician wife has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death.

Mohammed Shamji had been charged with first-degree murder in the 2016 death of Elana Fric-Shamji, his wife of 12 years and the mother of his three children.

He entered his guilty plea at a Toronto courthouse this morning, days before his trial was set to begin.

Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji's body was discovered in Kleinberg, Ont. in December 2016.

Fric-Shamji, a family doctor at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, was last seen Nov. 30, 2016.

Her mother contacted police to report her missing and Fric-Shamji's beaten body was found in a suitcase by the side of a road north of Toronto the following day.

Shamji, who worked at Toronto Western Hospital and was a faculty member at the University of Toronto, was arrested a day later.

Police have said an investigation revealed Fric-Shamji died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Fric-Shamji's death sparked an outpouring of grief and disbelief from those who knew her. She was described as a talented professional who helped improve the health-care system.