Rob Ford, the unorthodox former mayor of Toronto, whose antics became a staple of comedy monologues on both sides of the border, died Tuesday at age 46, The Globe and Mail is reporting.
The colorful politician passed away at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital following an 18-month battle with cancer.
Ford gained international fame for his unusually frank everyman demeanor, notably struggling with substance abuse problems that drew large amounts of both criticism and support.
Elected as a long-shot outsider, Ford drew scrutiny in 2013 when news stories circulated that he had smoked crack cocaine on a video. While comedians like Jon Stewart took notice, Ford initially denied the allegations before admitting, “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.”
Though his behavior provided ample fodder for late-night comics during his four years running Canada’s biggest city, he remained beloved in some quarters and was running for re-election in 2014 when he was sidelined by a diagnosis of a rare soft-tissue cancer called pleomorphic liposarcoma. His brother, fellow Councillor Doug Ford, stepped into the race but wound up losing.
Rob Ford was a Toronto city council member at the time of his death.