Timeline: Rob Ford's health troubles

A timeline of the health troubles that plagued the former mayor of Toronto between 2009-2016.

Former mayor of Toronto faced frequent health issues while in office

Former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford has had several health battles throughout his time in office as both mayor and city councillor. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford had many health battles throughout the years. He died Tuesday after battling cancer since 2014.

Here is a look back at his visits to the hospital, struggles with alcohol and drug use, as well as his cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to reporters at city hall on Thursday, Feb. 17. (CBC)


There were reports that Ford was hospitalized for a tumour on his appendix, which was removed along with part of his colon, which was also infected. 

February 2011

Following reports that he was treated for kidney stones, Ford was treated at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for a second painful kidney-stone attack.

Rob Ford at one of his public weigh-ins for his campaign to lose weight.

Ford said he was "back in fighting form" after a "five-millimetre" kidney stone that he was unable to pass was removed. 

January 2012

Ford launched a public campaign to lose weight with a goal of shedding 50 pounds by June. 

"Enough's enough," he said. "It's the heaviest I've ever been…I've got young children and this is not healthy."

The 'Cut the Waist' campaign proved to be a challenge for Rob Ford. (CBC)

He discovered during the public weigh-in at city hall that he weighed 330 pounds.

In the past, he had referred to himself as "300 pounds of fun." 

June 2012

Ford managed to lose 17 pounds during his five-month diet.

At one point he had lost 22 pounds, but in April, the "Cut The Waist" challenge began to go off the rails. He started rescheduling and then canceling his weekly weigh-ins. 

Mayor Rob Ford's press secretary, George Christopoulos, released this photo of Ford 'taking care of business' in hospital in August 2012. (Twitter)

At his last public weigh-in, Ford injured himself, twisting his ankle, as he stepped off the weight scale in front of his city hall office. 

August 2012

Ford was treated in hospital for a throat infection that had aggravated his asthma.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses media at city hall in Toronto. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

"Rob's healthy as a horse," said his brother, Doug Ford. "He's a workaholic. He'd outwork probably 99 per cent of the population out there, and sometimes you go overboard. You're working day in and day out. You get burnt out."

November 2013

Ford admitted to using crack cocaine after Toronto police confirmed the existence of a video that allegedly showed him smoking the drug.

After maintaining for months that he is not an addict or an alcoholic, Toronto's mayor announced he is seeking help for a "problem with alcohol." (Canadian Press)

Ford told a crush of media gathered at city hall that the admission was "the most difficult and embarrassing thing [he has] ever had to do," adding that he used the drug in one of his "drunken stupors."

He also said that he wouldn't step down as mayor.

Later in the month, Ford told CBC News he'd had a kind of "come-to-Jesus" moment and said he's "finished" with alcohol and doesn't do drugs.

Ford made the comments in an interview with CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge shortly after council voted overwhelmingly to slash his office budget and strip him of powers.

Interview with Rob & Doug Ford

9 years ago
Duration 18:08
Peter Mansbridge sits down with embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, following a vote from Toronto city council to strip the mayor of most of his powers.

Ford said he used crack "about a year ago" and that he hadn't used the drug since. He also said he hadn't consumed alcohol for three weeks and planned to never drink again.

"There's a lot of people who have done what I've done," Ford told Mansbridge. "I'm a human being, Peter."

May 2014

Ford's lawyer and a doctor supervising Ford's care confirmed he was in a residential treatment program for substance abuse at a clinic in North America. 

Mayor Rob Ford is seen leaving his home. He later boarded a flight to Chicago, but ended up withdrawing his request to enter the United States. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

The doctor, speaking with consent from the mayor, told CBC News that Ford arrived at the facility late on the night of May 1 and had been enrolled in an in-patient program. Ford left the facility on May 3 after a medical exam and was taken to a hospital, where he was admitted for four days. He returned to the treatment centre on May 7.

The CBC's Dwight Drummond spoke to Mayor Rob Ford, asking him questions about the drug and alcohol use that led him to rehab. (Dave Seglins/CBC)

July 2014

Ford admitted to CBC News that he used alcohol in his city hall office but refused to say whether he would resign as mayor if he returned to drinking and using drugs.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at city hall for his first day back from rehab. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Ford made the comments in a one-on-one interview with CBC's Dwight Drummond three days after returning to work following two months in a rehabilitation facility. He also blamed his bad behaviour, such as making sexist and homophobic comments in numerous videos, on his drug use, which he said began long before he was mayor.

"I think that goes along with having this disease," said Ford. "[When using drugs] You do things, you say things that just aren't you. I take full responsibility.… All I can do is apologize and deal with this disease. This is an everyday battle that I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. This is the beginning of a long, long journey."

Rob Ford interview

8 years ago
Duration 16:45
CBC gets the first one on one interview after the return of Toronto's mayor from rehab

Drummond asked Ford for specifics about his substance use — whether it involved "marijuana, heroin, crack, alcohol — the gamut." 

Ford answered, "You name it, I pretty well covered it."

A spokesman for Ford also confirmed in July, 2014 that he had hired a sobriety coach who was appearing with him everywhere he went following his return from rehab. 

However, by July 17, Ford appeared to have loosened ties with the sobriety coach. He also went to the hospital for a toe injury that had "been bothering him," according to his press secretary. 

Mayor Rob Ford remains at Toronto's Humber River Hospital. The mayor's brother and the hospital's president have told reporters that a tumour has been discovered in Ford's abdomen. (J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

September 2014

Humber River Hospital officials and Ford's family confirmed that he was admitted to hospital on Sept. 10 following a diagnosis of a tumour. 

"The tumour is in his abdomen, that's our working diagnosis based on a CT scan," said hospital president and CEO Dr. Rueben Devlin.

Dr. Zane Cohen of Mount Sinai Hospital speaks to media about the condition of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during a news conference in Toronto Sept. 17. Dr. Cohen said tests showed the mayor has a malignant liposarcoma tumour, and said he will begin chemotherapy treatment for his cancer shortly. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Ford underwent CT scans of his abdomen and chest, a biopsy and an ultrasound at Mount Sinai Hospital on Sept. 11.

By mid-September, Ford had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of malignant tumour, but doctors were optimistic about treating it, according to the head of his medical team.

Rob Ford makes an appearance at Toronto city hall. (CBC)

Dr. Zane Cohen revealed the mayor's diagnosis of a "malignant liposarcoma" to reporters gathered at the hospital. 

"It is a liposarcoma … it arises out of the fatty tissue, but it is definitely a malignant tumour," Cohen said. He said it was about 12 centimetres by 12 centimetres in size.

Ford began chemotherapy within a few days of the diagnosis. 

December 2014

On Dec. 16, Doug Ford told reporters that his brother's tumour was shrinking after several rounds of chemotherapy.

Ford acknowledges well-wishers in council.

"Rob's going to be finished his fifth round of chemo in a few days and then from there, they're looking at some of the radiation," he said.

April 2015

Ford revealed that he would be undergoing surgery to remove the tumour in his abdomen. 

"I have to start getting mentally prepared for the surgery," he said. 

He said the operation would involve four surgeons and could last up to 10 hours. He expected to be in hospital for 10 to 14 days.

Dan Jacobs, a Ford staffer, tweeted this picture of the former mayor getting ready for his surgery. (Dan Jacobs)

The former mayor said that doctors had informed him his tumour had shrunk enough after treatment to make surgery possible, while a second tumour had "pretty well disappeared."

May 2015 

His chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, said Ford's surgery went as expected and there were "no surprises."

Coun. Rob Ford was released from hospital following his cancer surgery and made a quick visit to city hall. (CBC)

He said that Ford spent about 10 hours under anesthetic.

"There were no new growths, the cancer had not spread beyond what they were already aware of and they were able to remove all the existing growths without causing damage to any internal structures," Jacobs said in a statement shared with reporters.

Ford was discharged from the hospital by May 26. 

July 2015

Ford was cleared to return to his duties as a city councillor for one or two days per week. 

Rob Ford speaks to the media outside Mount Sinai Hospital. (CBC)

"His doctors have said that they are extremely pleased with his progress, and they are surprised at how far he has come in the recovery process in such a short period of time," Jacobs said in a statement. 

October 2015

On Oct. 29, a weary and emotional Ford said he was "99 per cent sure" that a newly discovered tumour would turn out to be malignant.

Toronto residents are writing messages of support to Rob Ford as he undergoes more cancer treatment. The messages are being left on a new "get well soon" website launched by the Ford family.

His medical team at Mount Sinai discovered a tumour on his bladder after he was hospitalized for several days the week before with abdominal pain. 

"We're praying that it's benign, but you gotta deal with the realistic part of things, and I'm 99 per cent sure it's malignant," he said. "It's the type of cancer that does spread. I just have to deal with it."

November 2015 

Ford returned to hospital for a second round of chemotherapy for tumours attached to his bladder.

January 2016

Ford underwent a fourth round of chemotherapy for tumours on his bladder, his brother said, adding that he continued to return constituents' calls from the hospital.

March 2016

The Ford family launched a "get well soon" website where people can write messages of support as the former mayor undergoes more cancer treatment in hospital.

Ford died Tuesday morning after battling cancer since 2014. He was 46.