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Rob Ford, Toronto's Infamous Former Mayor, Dies At 46

Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor whose drug-addled fall from grace made international news, has died.

Ford had been fighting cancer since 2014. In a statement, his family said he died earlier today at age 46.

"A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," the family said in a statement.

If you remember, Ford came to international prominence back in November of 2013, when he admitted smoking crack cocaine.

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford told reporters, who gasped. "Probably in one of my drunken stupors."

The admission set off a series of incredible events: The emergence of a video that showed him inebriated and threatening to kill someone. A press scrum in which he responded to allegations that he made lewd comments about a woman by using a crude 5-letter word for a woman's genitalia. Another press scrum in which Ford runs away from press seeking answers.

It was all capped off by a moment emblematic of the chaos that seemed to always surround Ford. After the Toronto City Council voted to strip Ford of most of his powers, he ran across the floor toppling a council member.

The speaker called for a recess and council members chanted, "Shame, shame, shame!"

Ford always vowed to fight on. He filed to run for re-election, but he went to rehab and eventually was diagnosed with cancer and dropped his mayoral bid.

Ford still mounted a political campaign and won a seat on the council.

As we've reported, part of Ford's success as a politician was his attention to constituent services. Ford rose by making sure potholes and sidewalks were fixed. He went so far as to give out his home phone number to the people he served.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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