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|TORONTO Giacomo Bonaventura Jersey , March 22 (Xinhua) -- Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who became controversially known for his drug and alcohol abuse while in office, has died after battling cancer for years, his office confirmed Tuesday.
The 46-year-old sitting Toronto city councillor had been undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of cancer that had recurred despite surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy.
In a statement confirming Ford's death, his chief of staff Dan Jacobs said that "over his decade and a half in municipal politics, Ford won a devoted following for being a straight talker who championed the average taxpayer."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences. John Tory Gerard Deulofeu Jersey , who replaced Ford as mayor, called Ford "a man who spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had."
During his tumultuous 2010-2014 tenure as mayor of Canada's most populous city, Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs and driving after drinking alcohol.
Ford dropped out of the reelection campaign in September 2014 when he was diagnosed with pleomorphic liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer found in soft, fatty tissue of the body Gabriel Paletta Jersey , after he was admitted to a hospital with abdominal pain.
Ford was equally defined by his apparent contradictions: a millionaire with a working-class attitude; a cost-cutting crusader who promoted subway expansion over less expensive transit solutions; and a man who while serving as mayor often seemed more interested in coaching high school football.
It was a testament to his common touch that even as Ford faced a growing number of controversies related to drug use, public drunkenness and racist and sexist comments, many voters in the so-called "Ford Nation" continued to stand by him.
"I have made mistakes and all I can do right now is apologize for those mistakes," Ford said at a news conference in June 2014, after a two-month stint in rehab.
Ford was elected councillor of Ward 2 Etobicoke North, a suburb in Toronto's west end Franck Kessie Jersey , in 2000, and gained a reputation as a brash populist and cost-cutting crusader.
Ford was so committed to addressing the concerns of his constituents that he made an effort to return every phone call personally, even going so far as to give out his home number.
While his candid talk led to clashes with some of his fellow councillors, Ford gained a following for trying to reduce bureaucratic waste and show "respect for the taxpayers."
His promise to "stop the gravy train" at city hall became the central mantra of his 2010 mayoral campaign and ultimately lifted him to victory. Ford became mayor of Canada's biggest city by taking 47 percent of the vote and outpacing his closest competitor by 10 points.
Despite this electoral triumph, Ford's stint as mayor was contentious almost from the beginning, partly because of his politics and partly because of the increasing distractions of his personal life.
One of Ford's biggest preoccupations was subways Fabio Borini Jersey , which led to many council fights over transit expansion, which he insisted could not happen without more subways.
City council under Ford nonetheless introduced a number of significant changes, including the repeal of the dreaded vehicle registration tax, outsourcing garbage collection in the city's west end and a deal with city workers that averted a strike.
While Ford managed to weather some personal distractions, things became more serious in May 2013 after reports emerged of a cellphone video that showed Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The drug story not only made Ford an international celebrity and the object of mockery on late-night talk shows, but also triggered a criminal investigation Davide Calabria Jersey , which eventually led police to acquire a copy of the video.
After months of denying he was in the video, Ford confessed in November 2013 to having smoked crack, adding that it had likely occurred during one of his "drunken stupors." Despite the acknowledgment, Ford refused to step down as mayor.
Concerns about Ford's health and personal relationships led city council to vote in favor of cutting his mayoral budget and hand many of his duties to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
In April 2014, after the emergence of a second video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack, the mayor announced he was taking a two-month leave of absence to seek rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse.
Ford returned to work in June. Despite his admitted problems Cristian Zapata Jersey , he continued to enjoy significant support in the 2014 mayoral election campaign. But in mid-September, Ford was diagnosed with a rare but aggressive type of malignant tumor in his abdomen.
As a result, he pulled out of the running for mayor, and instead ran as a councillor in Ward 2 while his brother, Doug, the existing councillor for Ward 2 Carlos Bacca Jersey , joined the mayoral race in his stead.
In the Oct. 27 municipal election, Rob Ford handily won the seat for Ward 2, while his brother lost to John Tory in the mayoral race.
In May 2015, doctors removed a tumor from Rob Ford's abdomen and said they saw no signs of other tumors.
Ford kept a relatively low profile until the latter stages of the 2015 federal election campaign in October, when he was seen campaigning with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
This coincided with the release of two new books about Ford, including one by Mark Towhey Antonio Donnarumma Jersey , a former chief of staff, which recalled a phone call to Towhey in which Ford talked about "putting three bullets" in his wife Renata's head.
In the fall, Doug Ford confirmed that doctors had found two new tumors on his brother's bladder.
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