Embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford has ended his bid for re-election after doctors found a tumor in his abdomen.
“I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor,” Ford said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “With the advice of my doctors I know I need to focus on getting better.”
“People know me as a guy who faces things head on and never gives up, and as your Mayor I have done just that. I derailed the gravy train, cut unnecessary spending and made government more accountable. I did this by facing these challenges head on,” Ford added. “Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime.”
Ford family representatives rushed to file papers ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline Friday to allow Rob’s brother, City Councillor Doug Ford, replace him on the ballot, the Toronto Star reports. Doug Ford will now run for mayor of the city in Rob Ford’s stead. Rob Ford will, in turn, run for Doug Ford’s Ward 2 City Council seat, a seat Rob held until Doug’s election in 2010. The Fords’ nephew Michael, who had been in contention to fill the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Doug, is expected to pull his name from consideration.
Ford was admitted to a hospital Wednesday after complaining of stomach pains. Doctors found a “fair size” tumor in his abdomen but can’t know for sure if it is cancerous for at least a week.
The news marks a dramatic watershed in Ford’s tumultuous and scandal-plagued term in office during which he was censured by the City Council after revelations of drug use followed by repeated instances in which he made graphic and off color remarks in public.