Thousands of people – from residents to politicians to teenage footballers - gathered to remember former Toronto mayor Rob Ford at his funeral in a downtown Toronto church on Wednesday.

Ford died on March 22, following an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 46.

“My dad was a great man… an amazing dad,” Ford’s 10-year-old daughter Stephanie said, standing alongside her mother Renata and 7-year-old brother Dougie. “He is the mayor of heaven now.”

“He was so happy whenever he was with us,” she added. “And he was so nice to us. But also strict sometimes like a dad should be. We were happy together.”

Stephanie recalled one of the last times she saw her father in hospital. “I remember at the hospital he said: ‘Stephanie I may not be here for too much longer. I want you to remember I will always love you. And I need you and your brother to be strong for your mom.’”

Her words were met with loud applause, and Renata Ford thanked the crowd as they left the podium.

‘Ford Nation will continue’

Doug Ford fought back tears as he paid tribute to his younger brother, calling him the ‘mayor of Canada’. “Rob: I’m going to miss you like crazy. The Ford family will forever serve Toronto, the entire province and all of Canada.”

“Don’t worry – ‘Ford Nation’ will continue,” he added.

Doug Ford also thanked Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory for putting aside political differences to come and pay respects.

Clinton Leonard, a football player who was coached by Rob Ford, also spoke, recalling memories of Ford taking the team for lunches at Pizza Hut. “He was honestly a blessing,” he said. “He showed us right and wrong, and steered us all on the right path.”

A private burial service for the family will take place later in the afternoon.

  • Scroll down or click here to replay the updates from reporters on the scene

Tributes at Toronto City Hall

Hundreds of supporters, colleagues and friends paid their respects to Ford and his family at Toronto City Hall on Monday and Tuesday.

Ford served as mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014, during which time he gained international fame for his controversial leadership style and admissions of drug and alcohol abuse.

Following a stint in rehab, Ford pressed on with a re-election bid in 2014. However, his mayoral campaign was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before the municipal election.

Ford dropped out of the mayoral race, but ran for a seat on council which he won handily.

A public celebration of Ford's life will be held at the Toronto Congress Centre on Wednesday evening.

Replay the live blog from reporters on the scene below:



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