US & Canada

Toronto says goodbye to former mayor Rob Ford

Rob Ford's casket Image copyright Reuters
Image caption His casket is draped with the flag of Toronto

The colourful former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is lying in repose at a ceremony at Toronto City Hall.

The public is paying tribute to Mr Ford, who died at age 46 of cancer and gained notoriety for his outlandish public acts and drug use.

He was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer in 2014, keeping him from running for mayor again.

Before becoming mayor, he served as a city councillor, which he also served as at the time of his death.

His wife, Renata, hugged supporters who lined up to pay tribute to her husband, her children Stephanie and Doug by her side.

According to the CBC, hundreds of Ford fans lined up, some with newspaper clippings of happy memories of his time as mayor.

Doug Holyday, his former deputy mayor, stopped before his casket, along with many city councillors.

The repose continues on Tuesday and his funeral is on Wednesday.

Current Toronto Mayor John Tory called him a "profoundly human guy". Former prime minister Stephen Harper, whom Ford supported in his re-election bid last year, said he was a "fighter throughout life."

More on Rob Ford

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Illness cut short Ford's campaign to return to the mayor office

Profile: Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford - Ford remained popular despite his problems with drugs and alcohol

Toronto ex-mayor: Everyone makes mistakes - His "human" qualities endeared him to voters

Why Rob Ford was a typical Canadian - The bawdy politician did not fit the world's often unrealistic image of Canada

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

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.

He was especially popular among people living in Toronto's suburbs who felt left behind by liberal Toronto and liked his populist message.

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