US & Canada

Rob Ford, Toronto ex-mayor, dies aged 46 from cancer

Media captionRob Ford gained international notoriety after admitting to smoking crack cocaine in 2013

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has died at the age of 46 after fighting cancer, his family has said.

Mr Ford, who battled drug and alcohol addiction, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2014.

He gained international notoriety after admitting smoking crack cocaine in 2013, but he was loved by supporters.

"A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," his family said in a statement.

He could not run for re-election as mayor in 2014 due to his cancer diagnosis, but won a city council seat in a landslide result.

His image contrasted sharply with Canada's usual calm, buttoned-up politics.

Profile: Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Toronto ex-mayor: Everyone makes mistakes

Why Rob Ford was a typical Canadian

Media captionToronto Mayor Rob Ford: In his own words

Reacting to his death, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "Rob Ford fought cancer with courage and determination. My condolences and best wishes to the Ford family today."

The current mayor of Toronto, John Tory, said in a statement that "the city is reeling with this news".

"He was a man who spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had.

"I know there are many who were affected by his gregarious nature and approach to public service.''

Scandal

While serving as Toronto mayor, Mr Ford was videotaped and photographed intoxicated in public areas.

"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine," Mr Ford told reporters. "But... do I? Am I addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago."

Despite the crack-smoking scandal, his popularity remained high with fans lining up to take photo with him.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Ford was beloved by his supporters

He appealed to conservative, working-class people with his populist message. Many of his supporters in the 2010 Toronto mayoral election came from the outer suburbs of the city.

One of his key campaign promises was to "stop the gravy train" of government spending and he pledged to end "the war on the car".

During Canada's national election last year, Mr Ford threw his support behind former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who lost to Justin Trudeau, a liberal.

Mr Harper tweeted on Tuesday: "Rob was a fighter throughout life & dedicated public servant who will be remembered for his courage, love for Toronto & his family."

New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair tweeted also his condolences to Mr Ford's family, saying "46 is far too young to lose a loved one".

Mr Ford grew up in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, dropping out of university after one year to work in his family business.

He is survived by his wife Renata and his two children, Stephanie and Doug.

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