Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has tumor, election campaign up in air

Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:10pm EDT
 
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Speculation swept Canada's biggest city on Thursday after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who made global headlines last year for admitting he had smoked crack cocaine, was hospitalized with an abdominal tumor just six weeks before the mayoral election.

With biopsy results expected to take a week, Ford's illness raised the possibility he might have to pull out of the Oct. 27 election after having clung to power through a string of scandals, including his appearance in expletive-ridden videos and an admission he bought illegal drugs while in office.

Ford was transferred to a downtown hospital on Thursday where he underwent a battery of tests, including a biopsy and scans on his abdomen and chest. More tests are slated for Friday.

"We are still in a holding pattern," said Dr. Zane Cohen, a colorectal surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital, adding that until the biopsy results came in, doctors could not say what treatment was needed.

"The mayor is resting comfortably. He has some pain ... He is surrounded by family members."

Ford's brother and campaign manager, Doug Ford, did not attend the news conference. The elder Ford was expected to give an update on the mayor's health and political future on Thursday but that did not occur. Pundits were already mulling the mayor's options in a close election race in which Ford is one of three front-runners.

"To some extent or another, the future of the city rests in the status of a tumor in the mayor's belly," columnist Edward Keenan wrote in the Toronto Star, the city's biggest daily newspaper and the one most critical of Ford.

"Whether he can carry on and fight, and what that will mean for his support, whether he needs to withdraw and turn a campaign that has been largely about his governance on its head, whether his brother might run in his place. The decisions need to be made soon," Keenan wrote.   Continued...

 
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes his closing remarks during a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough, Ontario July 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Fred Thornhill