Passport

Rob Ford, Former Toronto Mayor Beset by Controversy, Has Died

Rob Ford, a popular former Toronto mayor best known for drug and alcohol scandals, has died after battling cancer.

GettyImages-485394151

Robert Ford, the former Toronto mayor who went from being a political force to a tragic example of the perils of drug and alcohol addiction, died on Tuesday at the age of 46 after battling cancer.

Ford, who served on Toronto’s city council and spent four years as mayor starting in 2010, rose to power as an ardent populist known for taking on what he considered urban elites. But controversy followed him throughout his career. A judge ordered him ejected from office in 2012 over a conflict of interest related to his charitable football foundation, a decision that was later reversed on a technicality.

But the city councilor is perhaps best known for his excesses with drugs and alcohol. In 2013, the Toronto Star reported that he attended a military gala while intoxicated. That same year, a video emerged of him smoking crack cocaine from a pipe while making racist and homophobic remarks.

Ford later admitted to using crack, public drunkenness, and drinking and driving. He was stripped of some of his powers and entered rehab in 2014, only to be diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer known as pleomorphic liposarcoma. He was treated for the disease for 18 months, undergoing what was said at the time to be a successful operation in May 2015. However, in October of last year, doctors found new tumors.

Ford’s death comes one day after his chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, confirmed the city councilor was in palliative care. His brother Doug told the Toronto Star Monday, “Rob is a fighter and continues to fight. We are so grateful for all the support for him from all over the world.”

Photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola