Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dies of cancer at age 46

After a long battle with cancer and unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford has died at age 46. The politician was surrounded by family in his final days at Mount Sinai Hospital, where loved ones tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

Then-mayor Rob Ford at a meeting regarding winter ice storm response.

"A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," his family said in a statement just 18 months after a softball-sized tumour was first discovered.

The Ford clan had indicated on Monday (Mar. 21) that Rob's care was part and parcel with a larger plan, implying that the end might not be as close as was thought. "Palliative care is often administered in conjunction with other treatments, and he has in fact been receiving it almost since first becoming diagnosed, both at home and the hospital."

They had also set up a site for Rob at getwellrobford.com, where 7,523 messages have been posted by supporters sharing thoughts, anecdotes and memories.

Last Thursday (Mar. 17), Rob’s chief of staff Dan Jacobs said in a statement that the family is asking “for privacy during this difficult time, and thank the people of Toronto and around the world for their ongoing prayers and support."

Rob Ford laughs as his son Doug Jr. mugs for the TV camera during the 2014 election.

Rob's four years in office came to be as he marketed himself as an everyman, on par with the people and determined to bring City Hall's "gravy train" to a budget-slashing halt. A fiercely loyal fanbase resulted, which he referred to as Ford Nation. During his term, seemingly homophobic and racist tendencies and a drug scandal made him one of the most contentious figures in Canadian politics.

Rob quickly became a global icon when his embattled term as mayor saw him regularly targeted for parodies on Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman and more. And while actor Charlie Sheen reached out on Twitter in Rob's support, having also struggled with drug addiction and erratic behaviour, Alec Baldwin was said to be considering a Rob Ford-inspired sitcom for NBC.

Jimmy Kimmel jibing the mayor during a guest appearance on his show.

After his diagnosis with pleomorphic liposarcoma in 2014, Rob dropped out of the mayoral reelection race. He has since maintained a much lower profile as his health deteriorated.

HELLO! Canada magazine is available for your tablet and smartphone. Get HELLO! Canada, PEOPLE, Vanity Fair and over 100 more of the world’s best magazines for one low monthly price at Texture by Next Issue. CLICK HERE to sign up for a free trial.