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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Will Take Leave, Seek Help For Substance Abuse

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is surrounded by the media as he waits for an elevator outside his office at Toronto City Hall on November 15.
Geoff Robins
AFP/Getty Images
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is surrounded by the media as he waits for an elevator outside his office at Toronto City Hall on November 15.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has been dogged by controversy after he admitted to smoking crack, will take time off to seek help for substance abuse, The Associated Press and the Toronto Sun are reporting.

Ford told the Sun he was "ready to take a break" in order to "go get help." The paper adds:

"Mayor Ford told the Sun's Joe Warmington that he realizes 'it's time' and that he 'wants' to 'deal with his issues.' "

Along with the announcement, there are reports of new audio and video footage of the mayor. The Globe and Mail says a video allegedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine; audio posted by the Sun is said to be of Ford acting out at a bar.

As we've reported:

-- It was on November 5 that Ford admitted that he smoked crack during a "drunken stupor."

-- Two days later, a video showed him "extremely inebriated" and threatening to kill someone.

-- On Nov. 14, a day after he was asked to step aside by his council, Ford made comments that were too blue for most news organizations to repeat.

-- On Nov. 18, the Toronto City Council stripped Ford of most of his power. Ford vowed to fight on.

-- In January, he filed for re-election.

-- And the last time we checked in back in March, he was at the center of another chaotic scene at City Hall.

Update at 11:05 p.m. ET. More Material?:

With news of Ford taking time off, there are reports of a new video and audio recording of the mayor.

The Globe and Mail said Wednesday two of its reporters saw a video clip that "shows Mr. Ford taking a drag from a long copper-coloured pipe, exhaling a cloud of smoke, his right arm convulsing."

A "self-professed drug dealer" tells The Globe and Mail that the clip is part of a three-video package that was taped surreptitiously. The paper says the announcement from Ford's lawyer came less than an hour after it requested comment from the mayor on the video.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun has published what it claims is an exclusive audio recording of Ford "ranting and swearing" at a bar.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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