Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 2016
Rob Ford, former Toronto mayor, dead at 46
Rob Ford, the Toronto city councillor who became the world’s most famous mayor during a wild, scandal-filled term, is dead at age 46.
The married father of two young children died after 18 months of treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer first diagnosed in the midst of his 2014 bid to be re-elected mayor. Ford would have turned 47 on May 28.
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.
The rumpled populist spent the months following surgery as he had the previous 15 years — immersed in politics. He attacked Mayor John Tory’s positions at city hall, gathering ammunition for a declared 2018 mayoral comeback. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)