Toronto's colorful former mayor Rob Ford dies of cancer

Updated: 2016-03-23 10:11


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Toronto's colorful former mayor Rob Ford dies of cancer

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responds to the Toronto police investigation dubbed "Project Brazen 2" to the media at City Hall in Toronto, in this Oct 31, 2013 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

Troubled life

While Ford managed to weather some personal distractions, things became more serious in May 2013 after reports emerged of a cellphone video that showed Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The drug story not only made Ford an international celebrity and the object of mockery on late-night talk shows, but also triggered a criminal investigation, which eventually led police to acquire a copy of the video.

After months of denying he was in the video, Ford confessed in November 2013 to having smoked crack, adding that it had likely occurred during one of his "drunken stupors." Despite the acknowledgment, Ford refused to step down as mayor.

Concerns about Ford's health and personal relationships led city council to vote in favor of cutting his mayoral budget and hand many of his duties to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

In April 2014, after the emergence of a second video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack, the mayor announced he was taking a two-month leave of absence to seek rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse.

Ford returned to work in June. Despite his admitted problems, he continued to enjoy significant support in the 2014 mayoral election campaign. But in mid-September, Ford was diagnosed with a rare but aggressive type of malignant tumor in his abdomen.

As a result, he pulled out of the running for mayor, and instead ran as a councillor in Ward 2 while his brother, Doug, the existing councillor for Ward 2, joined the mayoral race in his stead.

In the Oct 27 municipal election, Rob Ford handily won the seat for Ward 2, while his brother lost to John Tory in the mayoral race.

In May 2015, doctors removed a tumor from Rob Ford's abdomen and said they saw no signs of other tumors.

Ford kept a relatively low profile until the latter stages of the 2015 federal election campaign in October, when he was seen campaigning with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

This coincided with the release of two new books about Ford, including one by Mark Towhey, a former chief of staff, which recalled a phone call to Towhey in which Ford talked about "putting three bullets" in his wife Renata's head.