One of the most colorful politicians in the world, Rob Ford – the city council member who became Mayor of Toronto – just died at the age of 46.
He’s married with two children, and died after almost 2 years of treatment for a rare form of cancer, which was diagnosed with during his re-election campaign for mayor.
A brief statement from the Ford family announcing the death Tuesday described the former mayor as a “dedicated man of the people” who “spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.”
“The family will not be making any statements to the media or taking any questions,” the statement said.
Ford underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in May 2015, what was then considered his last chance to survive pleomorphic liposarcoma.
Though the surgery was hailed as a success, the discovery of two new tumours months later merited repeated rounds of chemotherapy that kept him away from the council chamber and his city hall office.
In recent weeks, Ford entered a clinical trial aimed at finding a personalized treatment for his cancer. But the process, which involves implanting a tumour in mice and testing different combinations of drugs, takes four months to complete.
As his health worsened, Ford’s family set up a website for well-wishers to leave messages of support.
“May you have a speedy and successful recovery. Be strong,” said one post left Monday. “We need you as Mayor in 2018 to save Toronto.”
His earlier diagnosis forced Ford to abandon his re-election hopes in September 2014, even as polls suggested he remained a contender. He then coasted to victory in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, which he represented for a decade before his 2010 mayoral triumph.
Last year, after learning multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had shrunk the original tumour enough to allow surgery, a relieved-looking Ford told reporters: “I’m just lucky to be alive today, and I’m just lucky to get another chance at life … At least I have a chance.”
He also thanked people “from all over the world” who had inundated him with hopeful messages.
via The Star
Mayor Ford’s funny persona sadly helped people overlook his serious struggles with drugs and alcohol. Now, he has died too young while leaving a leaving a family behind.
Let us pray for Ford and his family during this difficult time. RIP.