Toronto (Reuters) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who this week dropped out of the city’s mayoral race only to be replaced by his elder brother, on Saturday said in a newspaper interview that the early diagnosis from an abdominal tumour was “not good.”
Ford, a larger-than-life figure who made international headlines with his admission that he smoked crack cocaine while in office, was hospitalized earlier in the week after having unbearable abdominal pains.
In a dramatic turn of events, Ford dropped his bid for re-election minutes ahead of a Friday deadline, replaced by his brother and campaign manager Doug Ford. The mayor will instead run for a safe city council seat.
In an interview on Saturday in the Toronto Sun newspaper, Ford said he was “shocked” and “devastated,” and had to quit the race to focus on his health.
“It’s not good,” Ford was quoted as saying about his preliminary diagnosis. “I guess the good Lord wants me somewhere else.”
The 45-year-old mayor remains in hospital where he is undergoing a battery of tests, with biopsy results expected next week. He also said he is preparing for surgery and treatment that may keep him bedridden for weeks.
The Fords’ politician father, Doug Ford Sr., died of colon cancer less than three months after being diagnosed in 2006.
In 2009, doctors removed a tumour from Rob Ford’s appendix, and the then-city councilor returned to work in good health.
In May and June, the mayor underwent rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. He emerged noticeably thinner though still obese. Ford said he regretted not getting treatment “years ago” to treat his alcohol addiction.
(Reporting by Amran Abocar, editing by G Crosse)