'A profoundly human guy': Rob Ford honoured by colleagues, friends
Published Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:02PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 22, 2016 6:18PM EDT
Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford is being remembered by friends and colleagues for his "dedication" to public service and his "fierce love" for the city.
Ford died Tuesday morning at the age of 46 after a battle with cancer.
The Ford family issued a statement on Tuesday announcing news of the former mayor's passing.
"A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," the statement said. "The family asks that you respect their privacy and join them in their grieving and their prayers."
Ford's relative, Toronto District School Board Trustee Michael Ford, tweeted a personal note to his "Uncle Rob."
"Uncle Rob, you have fought the good fight long enough and now can rest in peace. Love you and will miss you," he said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement offering his condolences to the Ford family, and noting the former mayor's unique ability to connect with others.
"As a councillor, mayor and private citizen, Rob Ford reached out directly to people across the city with a phone call, an offer of advice or support, and I know there are many who were affected by his gregarious nature and approach to public service," Tory said.
"His time in city hall included moments of kindness, of generosity to his council colleagues and real efforts to do what he thought was best for Toronto. He was, above all else, a profoundly human guy whose presence in our city will be missed."
Tory said Ford was a man who loved the city, loved people and “was true to himself.”
Other politicians from across the country also offered tributes to Ford.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Ford fought cancer with "courage and determination."
"My condolences and best wishes to the Ford family today," Trudeau said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne noted Ford's "determined" political style that characterized much of his career in politics.
"Rob Ford earned widespread respect for his unwavering persistence in the face of serious health concerns – which he summed up in a statement released from his hospital bed during the 2014 (mayoral) campaign: 'Be strong, stay positive and never, ever give up,'" she said.
Conservative interim Leader Rona Ambrose remembered Ford as a "tireless fighter for the taxpayer and a true advocate for the people he represented."
"His goal was to serve the people of Toronto the best way he knew how," she said. "Despite the challenges he fought and the controversies he faced, it is my sincere hope that Canadians will remember Rob Ford for his enduring love for his community and country, and his dedication to his constituents.”
Former prime minister Stephen Harper also offered his condolences on Twitter.
Rob was a fighter throughout life & dedicated public servant who will be remembered for his courage, love for Toronto & his family. 1/2— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) March 22, 2016
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi posted a statement to his website, noting Ford’s “fierce love” for Toronto.
"Though I didn’t know Rob well, I knew him as a passionate defender of everyday people who deserve a good life in their city," Nenshi said.
"He fought hard, for example, for treating people in affordable housing with dignity, telling Canada’s big city mayors simply that he had seen their homes, and they deserved better."
Many of Ford's past and present colleagues from his years working at Toronto's city hall, also took time to pay tribute.
Rob Ford had a passion for people and politics. I'm saddened by his tragic passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. #RIPRobFord— Norm Kelly (@norm) March 22, 2016
Such sad news about Rob. Sending my sincere condolences to his family. Rest in peace buddy...— Josh Colle (@JoshColle) March 22, 2016
Rob loved Toronto with his whole heart. Whether you supported him or not, he made a lot of people care about municipal politics. #RIPRobFord— Colleen Grimes (@collgrimes) March 22, 2016
My sympathies to Rob's wife & children, his Mom, family & many dear friends & supporters. #RIPRobFord— Shelley Carroll (@shelleycarroll) March 22, 2016
My deepest condolences to the family of my colleague Rob Ford. Sadly too many families are losing their loved ones to cancer.— Mike Layton (@m_layton) March 22, 2016
Ford, who made headlines around the world after admitting to smoking crack cocaine in 2013, became acquaintances with many celebrities during the last years of his term as mayor. Many of those people also paid tribute to Ford.
Condolences to the family and fans of @TorontoRobFord - an unforgettable guy who loved his job and city like few men I've met.— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 22, 2016
Jerry Ageymang, a man who worked for a period of time as Ford's driver, tweeted out a touching old photo of the two sitting in council chambers. In it, Ford appears to be laughing, head in his hands, while Ageymang sits next to him, smiling widely.
"Rest in peace my friend," he said in the tweet.