Monday 21 August 2017

'He's mayor of heaven now' - daughter of infamous Toronto politician Rob Ford leads mourners at public farewell

Widow Renata comforts her son Dougie, and daughter Stephanie at the funeral for former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died last week of cancer, at St. James Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, March 30, 2016
Widow Renata comforts her son Dougie, and daughter Stephanie at the funeral for former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died last week of cancer, at St. James Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, March 30, 2016
Procession with the casket carrying former mayor Rob Ford makes its way to St James Cathedral for funeral services in Toronto, March 30, 2016
Doug Ford Junior wipes a tear with his mother's dress outside St James Cathedral as the hearse leaves carrying his father former mayor Rob Ford, in Toronto March 30, 2016
Rob Ford's children, Stephanie and Dougie walk by the casket at the funeral for their father former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died last week of cancer, at St. James Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, March 30, 2016

Toronto has mourned its infamous former leader Rob Ford, with his young daughter calling him the "mayor of heaven now".

Mr Ford died last week aged 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.

Procession with the casket carrying former mayor Rob Ford makes its way to St James Cathedral for funeral services in Toronto, March 30, 2016
Procession with the casket carrying former mayor Rob Ford makes its way to St James Cathedral for funeral services in Toronto, March 30, 2016

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.

"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 eight-year-old brother, Doug. She said her father bought them the best toys and took them to the best places but said that what mattered most was that they were happy together.

Mr Ford had been lying in repose at City Hall the last two days, an honour only granted a few times in the past.

He was loved by some and loathed by others as mayor.

The international spotlight fell on him in May 2013, when the Toronto Star and US 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, Mr Ford was never charged with a crime.

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