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

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brightcove.createExperiences(); Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has died at 46 after a long battle with cancer, his family announced in a statement Tuesday.

“A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto,” his family said. Ford was surrounded by family and friends after he was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on March 18.

The eccentric politician, who made headlines in 2013 when he admitted he smoked crack cocaine, was forced to suspend his re-election bid after he was diagnosed with a rare, agressive form of cancer called pleomorphic liposarcoma in 2014.

Ford, who was serving as a city councillor in Toronto at the time of his death, was hospitalized in March in Canada, where his family gathered around him as he continued his battle with cancer. He had been undergoing radiation, surgery and chemotherapy treatment since February, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ford was widely known for his gaffes, stunts and alcohol and drug abuse, and was often the butt of jokes by American late-night hosts like David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The Chicago Tribune listed the following incidents as examples of Ford stories that became fodder for TV comedians:

“Knocking over a 63-year-old female city councilor while rushing to the defense of his brother, Councilor Doug Ford, who was insulting spectators in the council chamber.”

• “Threatening “murder” in a profane, incoherent rant captured by video.”

• “Swearing and slurring his words, calling the police chief a derogatory name and trying to imitate a Jamaican accent in a different video.”

The ex-mayor initially denied allegations that he had used crack cocaine, but after a police investigation into Toronto gangs uncovered videos of Ford smoking the illicit drug, he admitted to incidents of public drunkenness, drinking and driving, and illegal drug use. In November 2013, he confessed in a press conference that he had tried crack “probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

The ex-mayor was eventually stripped of his powers in the wake of the scandals. Despite his troubled reputation, Ford maintained a loyal following known as the “Ford Nation.”

After a two-month stint in rehab, he returned to office in June 2014 and then launched a re-election bid for mayor. He was forced to end his campaign after his cancer diagnosis.