Rob Ford: Former Toronto mayor dies of cancer at 46

On a busy news day marked by terrorist carnage in Belgium, and a historic speech by the USA president in Cuba, the New York Times and Associated Press sent out yet another news alert to smartphones of subscribers around the world: The former mayor of Toronto had died. After denying the claims, Ford finally admitted that he had substance abuse issues, and the video was probably made during one of his “drunken stupors”.

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The speaker called for a recess and council members chanted, “Shame, shame, shame!” In a statement to the CBC, Ford chief of staff Dan Jacobs praised the former mayor, saying he “won a devoted following for being a straight talker who championed the average taxpayer”.

No charges were brought against him.

Despite enormous pressure, Ford refused to resign.

City council votes by a wide margin to slash Ford’s mayoral budget and hand many of his duties to the deputy mayor.

He later entered rehab in 2014 to combat his addictions.

Ford was not the most eloquent politician but what he lacked in polish he made up for with a unique ability to connect with people. He attended Carleton University in Ottawa to study political science, according to the Toronto Star, leaving in 1990 before graduating to return to Toronto and a sales job with the family business.

Ford attained a level of worldwide celebrity uncommon for any Canadian politician – let alone a municipal one. He re-emerged on the political scene in October 2014, winning by a large margin his old Toronto City Council seat.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Ford’s death following a news conference condemning Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels.

Milczyn described Ford as genial among his city hall colleagues.

He wasn’t afraid to laugh at his own expense. He eliminated a vehicle registration fee to turn back the “war on the auto”.

But barely six months later, Ford announced that doctors had found another tumour near his bladder. “I guarantee, in four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up”, a wan-looking Ford tells cheering supporters.

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“The City is reeling with this news, and my thoughts are with his wife Renata and their two children, as well as Rob’s brothers Doug and Randy, his sister Kathy, his mother, Diane, and the rest of their tight-knit family, including TDSB Trustee Michael Ford”, Tory said.

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dies after battling rare cancer