Ex-Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in hospital with family by his side

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Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford, who made international headlines as mayor when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office, is in hospital and surrounded by his family amid speculation that his condition has deteriorated.

“The Ford family asks for privacy during this difficult time, and thank the people of Toronto and around the world for their ongoing prayers and support,” his office said in a brief statement on Thursday afternoon. “Should there be any developments, a further release will follow.”

The statement provided no other details about the former mayor’s condition but followed rumors that he had passed away. Ford has been battling a rare and aggressive form of soft tissue cancer 1.5 year and has undergone chemotherapy in the last few months for two tumors on his bladder.

The former mayor is receiving treatment at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Ford, who is 46, served as mayor of Toronto from December 2010 until December 2014, but the city’s council voted in November 2013 to remove key aspects of his powers after a video emerged that showed him smoking crack cocaine.

Before leaving office, Ford was elected as City Councillor for Ward 2, a position he also held before becoming mayor.

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