Rob Ford, the controversial, colorful, crack-smoking Canadian mayor, has died of cancer. He was 46.
Ford, a married father of two, parlayed his council post into the Toronto mayoral seat in 2010. His plainspokenness and notoriety made him a polarizing figure within Canada, and the fact that during his time as mayor, videos of Ford visibly intoxicated regularly appeared made him a darling of the comedy circuit.
He catapulted to worldwide notoriety — and then infamy — after admitting to reporters that he had smoked crack. Ford famously told the press:
Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But… do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.
Ford was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer — liposarcoma — which forced him to drop his bid for re-election as Toronto’s mayor in 2014. He did, however, win back his old seat representing Etobicoke on the Toronto City Council by a large margin, and remained active in local politics.
“The city is reeling with this news,” said John Tory, Toronto’s current mayor:
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.
Despite Ford’s multiple controversies, he remained beloved by many for his commitment to constituent services, such as cutting taxes and making sure that potholes and sidewalks were fixed.