Ford family matriarch Diane Ford dies at age 85
January 6, 2020
January 6, 2020 8:12 AM EST
Doug and Rob Ford pose for a photo with mother Diane on Mother's day in 2012. Stan Behal / Toronto Sun file
She was the rock in an often tempestuous political family.
Diane Ford, mother of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, died Sunday in Etobicoke at the age of 85.
A statement from the premier’s office said the Ford matriarch died surrounded by family and loved ones.
She had been battling cancer.
Diane Ford alongside grandson Michael Ford after he won the election for Ward 2, previously held by his uncle Rob Ford, on July 25, 2016. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun
Diane, the statement read, “was an active member of her community who supported numerous charitable causes. But most of all, she was the rock for her family, especially her 10 grandchildren,” the statement reads. “The Ford family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from members of the community in recent weeks. The family would also like to thank Mrs. Ford’s caregivers for their compassionate care.”
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Diane and husband Doug Ford Sr. had four children — Randy, Kathy, Doug Jr. and Rob.
She was at her husband’s side when he was elected to Queen’s Park as Progressive Conservative MP for Etobicoke-Humber.
The stylish and tough wife and mother was an ever-present figure during her son Rob’s time on Toronto city council, supporting numerous charities and opening up her home and backyard to numerous political and community functions.
Rob announced his intention to run for a second term as mayor in her home — a decision cut short upon his cancer diagnosis.
Diane Ford’s grandson Michael Ford, the eldest son of her only daughter, was first elected to Toronto city council in a 2016 byelection prompted by his uncle Rob’s death.
He tweeted about his grandmother on Sunday night.
“Heaven has just welcomed a very special angel through its gates tonight,” he wrote. “Words cannot describe how much I will miss you. Love you so much, Nana.”
Heaven has just welcomed a very special angel through its gates tonight. Words cannot describe how much I will miss you. Love you so much, Nana. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2JQJV5AqZM
— Michael Ford (@MichaelFordTO) January 6, 2020
Diane Ford’s death also prompted a flood of condolences from politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your mother,” he tweeted to the premier. “Sophie & I are keeping you & your family are in our thoughts tonight.”
.@fordnation, I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Sophie & I are keeping you & your family in our thoughts tonight.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2020
Ontario’s Opposition Leader, Andrea Horwath, also offered her sympathies.
“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.”
The Ford family is in our hearts and thoughts as they grieve this deep loss.
I hope the family can find strength in each other, and comfort in community, and may warm memories of Mrs. Ford help the Ford family through this difficult time.
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) January 6, 2020
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.
I know all of those who knew Mrs. Ford will miss her strong presence and treasure her memory.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 6, 2020
— With files from The Canadian Press
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume