Toronto Mourns Its 'Most Complicated' Mayor
He 'may have been a clown, but he was our clown'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2016 7:57 AM CDT
In this July 15, 2014 photo, Rob Ford pauses while participating in a mayoral debate in Toronto.    (Darren Calabrese /The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – Rob Ford has died from cancer at 46 and while he deeply split opinion when he was mayor of Toronto, commentators agree that the world is duller place without the man they describe as the most polarizing, most complicated, and by far the most famous leader the city has ever produced. A round-up of reactions:

  • Edward Keenan, Toronto Star: "He was perhaps the worst mayor Toronto has ever had, and the strangest and most compelling character in the history of Canadian politics, and today Rob Ford is gone and his loss feels like a crater has opened up in the city’s psyche. What will we do without him?"

  • Chris Sellers, National Post: "As I ponder Ford’s tragic passing at the terrible age of 46, just when he seemed to be turning his life around, he strikes me far less as an extraordinary individual than as an extraordinary collision of unfortunate circumstances, crammed into a single otherwise average guy and installed, tragically and against all logic, in the chief magistrate’s office of a city of 2.6 million people."
  • Stephen Marche, Esquire: "After Ford confessed to smoking crack, and refused to step down—still one of the craziest political decisions ever undertaken--his poll numbers went up. He stumbled on a fact nobody had realized before: such is the loathing of the political class among voters that craziness will be taken as authenticity." Marche, one of several commentators to describe Ford as the precursor to Donald Trump, writes that the "most salient political fact in the world is that the next Rob Ford could easily be the next President of the United States."
  • Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun: "The late, great Rob Ford may have been a clown, but he was our clown. The former mayor was bigger than life with vices to match. He took this city on a ride that we have not seen before and are unlikely to see again. But as tumultuous and embarrassing as his tenure would be, there was no questioning what motivated him. His heart beat for Toronto."