After Rob Ford left his home Thursday morning apparently to seek help for what he described as a problem with alcohol, his family members have pledged to support the beleaguered Toronto mayor.

The mayor was filmed holding what looks like a crack pipe this past Saturday, April 26, at his sister Kathy's house, according to the Globe and Mail, whose reporters viewed the video. After a story and screen grabs from the video were published Wednesday night, Ford announced he planned to take a leave from his mayor's job and campaigning for re-election.

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Coun. Doug Ford said Thursday he feels a sense of relief that his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, is seeking help for his substance abuse problems. (Canadian Press)

He left his Etobicoke home this morning with a suitcase carried by his nephew, Michael Ford.

The mayor did not say anything to members of the media gathered outside his house. He has not said when he plans to return to his city hall duties in either his statement to the public or the brief letter he submitted to the city clerk. 

His brother and campaign manager, Coun. Doug Ford, told CBC News on Thursday the mayor will "immediately" begin a 30-day in-patient program at "one of the best facilities in North America." 

The councillor declined to provide a location. Rob Ford flew to Chicago Thursday morning but it is not known if that was his final destination. 

Doug Ford said he's relieved his brother has finally stepped back from public life to seek professional help for his personal problems. 

"This is one of the toughest days of my life but in saying that, I also have a sense of relief," the councillor said at a news conference at city hall while fighting back tears.

"As an older brother, I'm relieved that Rob has faced his problems and decided to seek professional help. This isn't an easy thing for anyone to do … especially when you're mayor of this city.

"I told Rob that everyone knows someone who has faced these challenges, and I know they will wish him well and a speedy recovery. I love my brother. I'll continue to stand by my brother and his family in this difficult journey."

The mayor's mother, Diane Ford, told reporters she had no choice but accept that her son has problems. "I had no idea it was as serious as it is," she said.

She also warned the media to "leave him alone."

With files from Jamie Strashin