A look back at Rob Ford’s 18-month battle with cancer

Click to play video: 'Remembering Rob Ford' Remembering Rob Ford
WATCH ABOVE: Global National Washington Bureau Chief Jackson Proskow takes a look back at Rob Ford's troubled time in office – Mar 22, 2016

Rob Ford, the Toronto city councillor and infamous former mayor, died Tuesday after an 18-month battle with a rare aggressive form of cancer. He was 46.

A statement from the Ford family announcing his death described the former mayor as a “dedicated man of the people” who “spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.”

“With heavy hearts and profound sadness, the Ford family announces the passing of their beloved son, brother, husband, and father, Councillor Rob Ford earlier today at the age of 46,” the statement said. “Over his decade and a half in municipal politics, Ford won a devoted following for being a straight talker who championed the average taxpayer.”

Ford was diagnosed with liposarcoma in the midst of his bid to be re-elected as mayor in 2014.

READ MORE: Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dies after 18-month struggle with rare form of cancer

Here is a look at the dates from the time Ford was diagnosed until his death March 22.

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Sept 11, 2014: Ford in Humber River Hospital after being diagnosed with a tumour in his abdomen. Ford went the hospital days earlier after complaining of abdominal pain that had persisted for the previous few months.

Sept. 12, 2014: Ford withdraws from the mayoral race citing health concerns. His brother, Doug, a city councillor at the time, runs in his place.

“I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away,” Rob Ford said a statement. “I have asked Doug to run to become the next Mayor of Toronto, because we need him. We cannot go backwards,”

Rob Ford files papers to run again as councillor for his former suburban Toronto ward.

Sept. 17, 2014: Dr. Zane Cohen of Mount Sinai Hospital announces at a news conference Ford has been diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer that begins in the soft tissues and could start in any part of the body – the tendons, fatty tissues, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles.

WATCH: How rare is Rob Ford’s cancer? Crystal Goomansingh reports.

“To get to the size it is now, it’s often several years,” Cohen said. “We are treating this very aggressively, in order to eradicate the tumour.”

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Sarcomas comprise only about one per cent of all cancers with 60 different cell types.

Cohen says Ford will undergo two rounds of chemotherapy over the subsequent 40 days. Doug Ford says the diagnosis has been “devastating” but that Rob Ford “remains upbeat and determined to fight this.”

Feb. 26, 2015: Ford says he’s finished several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and doctors will perform an MRI to determine if the tumour is small enough to operate.

March 18 2015: The former scandal-plagued mayor speaks with Global News about his diagnosis and his previous struggles with addiction.

“I’d rather come to work than go home. I want to work,” Ford told Global News. “The worst thing I can imagine doing is just sitting on the couch and thinking about it.”

April 2, 2015: Ford says the tumour has shrunk to about 5.6 by 5.3 by 4.5 centimetres, which was small enough to operate.

“I’m just lucky to be alive today and getting another chance at life,” Ford told reporters.

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May 11, 2015: Ford has surgery to remove the tumour from his abdomen. The surgery was expected to last more than 10 hours and the recovery would take at least four months.

Oct. 28, 2015: Ford announces a new tumour has formed on his bladder.

Doug Ford told Global News his brother was in “excruciating pain” as the tumour puts pressure on the bladder and other areas of the body.

“He wanted to go home so he asked if he could go home to spend times with his kids and his wife and his family and so they let him go home,” he said, adding that Ford may return to the hospital for more testing.

Oct. 29, 2015: Ford says he’s awaiting biopsy results, but is 99 per cent sure the tumour is malignant. He says he would undergo two rounds of chemotherapy beginning the following week.

WATCH: Rob Ford passes away at the age of 46

Click to play video: 'Rob Ford passes away at the age of 46' Rob Ford passes away at the age of 46
Rob Ford passes away at the age of 46 – Mar 22, 2016

March 3, 2016: Ford returns to hospital to continue his cancer treatment. Doug Ford says he was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital at the end of February for another scheduled round of chemotherapy.

READ MORE: Rob Ford’s cutting-edge cancer treatment aimed to take the guesswork out of chemo

March 18, 2016: Messages of support pour in for Ford as he continues to battle cancer. The public and several politicians offer words of encouragement for the former mayor and his family.

“Sometimes even just grievances, along with old battles, should be set aside,”  Coun. Josh Matlow said via Twitter. “I wish Rob Ford and his family my love, best wishes and strength.”

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March 22, 2016: Ford passes away after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Mayor John Tory, praised Ford as a man who “spoke his mind and who ran for office because of the deeply felt convictions that he had.”

“His time in City Hall included moments of kindness, of generosity to his council colleagues and real efforts to do what he thought was best for Toronto,” Tory said in statement. “He was, above all else, a profoundly human guy whose presence in our city will be missed.”

*With files from Adam Miller, Adam Frisk, and The Canadian Press


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