TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford, whom doctors said has an abdominal tumour, was transferred to a downtown hospital Thursday for further tests as the nomination deadline for next month’s municipal election loomed.
His brother said the mayor was managing.
“He’s doing all right,” Coun. Doug Ford said outside the hospital. “He’s keeping in good spirits.”
Ford’s wife Renata also visited him Thursday but left without saying anything to reporters kept on the hospital perimeter.
Ford, 45, possibly the best known mayor in North America due to a series of drug and other scandals, was admitted to the west-end Humber River Hospital on Wednesday after complaining for months about abdominal pain that finally became “unbearable.”
At a news conference late Wednesday, a doctor said a scan had turned up a “not small” tumour that required a biopsy to determine whether it was malignant.
“It’s devastating,” Doug Ford said. “Devastating all night.”
Early Thursday afternoon, the mayor was transferred to the downtown Mount Sinai hospital for “follow-up investigation and subsequent treatment,” according to a Humber River statement.
Ford has until 2 p.m. eastern Friday to withdraw his name from the ballot should he decide to do so, while any new candidates have the same deadline to file their papers.
His brother said it was still too early to discuss the issue.
“Guys, I need a day or so, honestly I do,” Doug Ford said.
Ford’s father, Doug Ford Sr., died of colon cancer in 2006 — just months after it was diagnosed.
Ford himself had abdominal surgery in 2009 to remove a tumour on his appendix.
“That’s pretty scary when that happens,” he told CTV in an interview in September 2010.
While the nature of the current tumour remained unclear, a gastroenterologist from Australia’s leading cancer centre said doctors were likely considering the possibility of colorectal cancer.
The tumour diagnosis came just over two months after Ford returned to office from a stint in rehab that followed a scandal-plagued year in which council stripped him of most of his powers after he was forced to admit to using crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” and was caught on video and audio recordings in profanity-laced rants.
Ford’s litany of woes, gaffes and outrageous conduct, made him an international celebrity and news of the tumour discovery was reported by media around the world, including CNN and the BBC.
Latest polls suggested he was still a viable candidate for re-election.
His hospitalization sparked an outpouring of sympathy — even from those who want him gone from the city’s government.