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Diane Ford, mother to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has died

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's mother Diane Ford attends Ford Fest in Markham, Ont., on Saturday, June 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Diane Ford, 85, passed away Sunday evening in her west Toronto home surrounded by family and loved ones, says a statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office.

She is predeceased by her son Rob Ford — the former mayor of Toronto — and her husband Doug Ford Sr.

“Mrs. Ford was an active member of her community who supported numerous charitable causes,” the statement said.

“But most of all, she was the rock for her family, especially her 10 grandchildren.”

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The statement went on to thank her caregivers for “their compassionate care.” She had been ill for the past few months, battling cancer.

“The Ford family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from members of the community in recent weeks,” the statement said.

Her son Rob Ford died in 2016 at the age of 46 after an 18-month battle with a rare yet aggressive form of cancer.

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In 2018, Doug Ford launched his campaign for premier from his mother’s home, which has also been the setting of the long-running annual Ford Fest barbecue.

Various politicians extended their condolences to the family following Diane Ford’s death, including Ontario’s Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

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“The Ford family is in our hearts and our minds as they grieve this deep loss,” the NDP leader said in a written statement. “I hope the family finds strength in each other, and comfort in community, and may warm memories of Mrs. Ford help the Ford family through this difficult time.”

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Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne also offered her sympathies to the premier on Twitter.

READ MORE: Ford Fest expected to bring in thousands with Doug Ford as premier

“I know your mother Diane was close and important to you and will be dearly missed by you and your family,” she wrote.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also wrote: “The loss of a mother and grandmother, loved one and friend, is heartbreaking. I want to extend my sympathy on behalf of all New Democrats to the Ford family as they grieve the loss of Diane Ford.”

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Toronto Mayor John Tory, who won the seat over Doug Ford in the 2014 municipal election, extended his condolences on behalf of the city.

“Throughout the 25 years I have known her, Mrs. Diane Ford was so obviously the matriarch of the Ford family and that is why I know they will miss her so much,” he said.

— With files by The Canadian Press

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