TORONTO (AP) — Toronto on Wednesday mourned its infamous former leader Rob Ford, whom his young daughter in a speech called the “mayor of heaven now.”
Ford died last week at age 46 after fighting cancer. His four-year tenure as mayor of Canada’s largest city was marred by revelations about his drinking problems and illegal drug use. As he sought a second term in 2014, his cancer diagnosis forced him to do what months of scandals could not — drop his bid for re-election. He died less than two years later.
“I remember at the hospital he smiled at me and he said, ‘Stephanie, I may not be here for too much longer, but I want you to remember that I will always love you. I need you and your brother to be strong for your mom,'” his 10-year-old daughter said Wednesday.
“I know my dad is in a better place now and that he’s the mayor of heaven now.”
She thanked the mourners for coming and said it meant so much to her and her 8-year-old brother, Doug. She said her dad bought them the best toys and took them to the best places but said that what mattered most was that they were happy together.
Ford had been lying in repose at City Hall the last two days, an honor only granted a few times in the past. Ford’s brother Doug invited hundreds of members of the public to walk with the procession to the church from City Hall.
Rob Ford was loved by some and loathed by others as mayor.
The international spotlight fell on him in May 2013, when Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker reported the existence of a video that appeared to show the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe. Although he became the subject of a police investigation and admitted to reporters that he had smoked crack cocaine, Ford was never charged with a crime.