TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford withdrew his re-election bid Friday as he seeks treatment for a tumor in his abdomen, ending a campaign he had pursued despite a stint in rehab and persistent calls for him to quit amid drug and alcohol scandals. But he said his brother would run in his place, saying “we cannot go backwards.”
Rob Ford will instead seek a seat on the City Council, after a nephew withdrew his candidacy.
“My heart is heavy when I tell you that I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your mayor,” Ford said in a statement. “I have asked Doug to run to become the next Mayor of Toronto, because we need him. We cannot go backwards.”
Doug Ford, a city councilor who had been the conservative mayor’s campaign manager, submitted his registration papers to run for mayor in his brother’s place. He will face two other major candidates in the Oct. 27 election.
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Ford’s decision came two days after he was hospitalized and the tumor was discovered. Biopsy results won’t be back for a week and a definitive diagnosis is pending.
“As many of you know I’ve been dealing with a serious medical issue, the details of which are unknown. But I know that with the love and support of my family, I will get through this,” Ford said in a statement.
Ford became an international celebrity last year after acknowledging using crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” following months of denials. He returned to work in June after a rehab stint for drugs and alcohol.