TORONTO (AP) — 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 papers to run for mayor in his brother’s place. He will face two other major candidates in the Oct. 27 election.
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 acknowledged using crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” last year following months of denials. He returned to work in June after a rehab stint for drugs and alcohol.
The international spotlight first fell on Ford in May 2013, when Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker reported the existence of a video apparently showing the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe. He denied the existence of the video for months until police announced they had obtained it.
After reports emerged this year of a second video showing him apparently smoking crack, Ford decided to enter rehab. But he refused to quit his job or abandon his bid for re-election.
The City Council stripped Ford of most of his powers last year but lacked the authority to force him out of office because he hasn’t been convicted of a crime.
Ford has been the subject of an ongoing police investigation but has not been charged.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)