In Brief

Crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford dies at 46

Politician rose to international notoriety after admitting to using drugs while in office

Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto who publicly battled drug and alcohol problems while in office, has died at the age of 46.

He passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital following a battle with a "rare and aggressive" form of pleomorphic liposarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, reported Canadian Press.

Ford rose to international notoriety in 2013, when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine while still mayor. He initially tried to deny reports of a video showing him inhaling from a crack pipe, but later backtracked when the recording was located by the Toronto police months later.

"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine," he told reporters. "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."

Further videos emerged, including one in which Ford went on a violent rant about killing someone, before another that showed him smoking crack cocaine again, effectively ending his career as mayor. Toronto city council transferred most of his powers and budget to his deputy, Norm Kelly, leaving Ford as a figurehead only.

Ford discovered he had cancer after checking himself into rehab in 2014.

Despite the scandals, he remained a popular figure in the city. "People continue to forgive his indiscretions because they identify with him or feel sympathy with him," former councillor Karen Stintz said.

"Rob Ford fought cancer with courage and determination," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "My condolences and best wishes to the Ford family today."

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