Renata Ford, widow of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, issued a statement after the Canadian politician lost an 18-month battle with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer, Tuesday. He was 46.
“With heavy hearts and profound sadness, the Ford family announces the passing of their beloved son, brother, husband and father,” his family said in a statement. “A dedicated man of the people, Councilor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.”
Ford gained international notoriety after he was caught smoking crack in May 2013, three years after he was elected Toronto mayor. A secret video showed him using a crack pipe. Though he initially denied the allegations, he ultimately admitted to doing drugs.
“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” he told reporters. “But, no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.” He refused to resign as mayor.
— Teenage Stuffs (@SeriouslyClose) March 22, 2016
But controversy hit Ford again in November 2013 when he was accused of asking a staff member for oral sex. He responded to this allegation by saying he had “more than enough to eat at home.”
In a news conference, with wife Renata at his side, he apologized for his crude comment. “The revelations yesterday of cocaine, escorts, prostitution has pushed me over the line, and I used unforgivable language, and again I apologize,” the mayor said at the time. “These allegations are 100 percent lies. Today I acted on complete impulse in my remarks.”
He and Renata met in high school, but they did not marry until 2000. They have two children, Stephanie and Douglas.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, issued a statement after Ford’s death. “Rob Ford fought cancer with courage and determination. My condolences and best wishes to the Ford family today,” he said.
Ford’s declining health left him unable to run for re-election. His successor as Toronto mayor, John Tory, also responded to the controversial politician’s death. “I have known Rob Ford for many years. He was a man who spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had,” the mayor, who was elected in 2014, said in a press release. “His time in City Hall included moments of kindness, of generosity to his council colleagues and real efforts to do what he thought was best for Toronto.”
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