Rob Ford releases audio statement from hospital

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Rob Ford releases audio statement from hospital
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 30, 2015 - Toronto City councillor Rob Ford was in attendance for the opening of the tunnel. The tunnel to Billy Bishop City Centre Airport opened this afternoon after a morning ceremony with politicans. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 27: Mayor Rob Ford addressed the media in front of his office Wednesday afternoon. Toronto city council is meeting this week for the last time before the upcoming municipal election. Aug 27, 2014. (Marta Iwanek/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Councillor Doug Ford arrives at Humber River Regional Hospital Thursday morning to visit his brother, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a tumor yesterday. (Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- JUNE 30 - After a seven week paid leave of absence Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returns to office and delivers an speech about Greenstone and then delivering stump speech at City Hall in Toronto. June 30, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 30: Mayor Rob Ford takes questions at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the refurbishment of Brookdale Park's playground. Toronto, July 30, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO - JULY 15 - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at the venue. Toronto Mayoral debate on July 15, 2014, at Global Kingdom Ministries in Scarborough where Toronto Mayor Rob Ford participates in his first debate since returning after a stay in substance abuse rehab. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 15: Mayor Rob Ford addresses his supporters and the audience at the Toronto mayoral debate held at Global Kingdom Ministries, organized by the Canadian Tamil Congress. July 15, 2014. (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- JULY 25 - Kevin Searle is called Ford or Mayor at work. In the midst of an election campaign, Mayor Rob Ford stages another 'family' barbecue called Fordfest in a city-owned park in Scarborough. July 25, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- JULY 25 - Mayor Rob Ford moves through the crowds. In the midst of an election campaign, Mayor Rob Ford stages another 'family' barbecue called Fordfest in a city-owned park in Scarborough. July 25, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- APRIL 17 - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wraps up his speech as he launches his re-election campaign at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto. April 17, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 24 - Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto Police Inspector Randy Carter walking to stage at the Community Safety Award winners at City Hall in Toronto, April 24, 2014. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 28 - Amin Massoudi (left) who works in the Mayors office and councillor Doug Ford find a spot near the back of the room during the debate. A mayors debate was held at Presteign Woodbine United Church with Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and John Tory on July 28, 2014. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 28 - Mayor Rob Ford speaks during the debate. A mayors debate was held at Presteign Woodbine United Church with Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and John Tory on July 28, 2014. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Mayor Rob Ford greets supporters. In the midst of an election campaign, Mayor Rob Ford stages another 'family' barbecue called Fordfest in a city-owned park in Scarborough. July 25, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 17: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a press conference where he highlights spending at Waterfront Toronto. The presser was held in the Member's Lounge at City Hall in Toronto. July 17, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 10 - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dips his head into a chair while laughing with another councillor during council meeting at city hall, July 10, 2014. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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TORONTO (AP) -- Just hours before he begins aggressive chemotherapy for a rare and difficult-to-beat cancer, a rough-sounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford released an audio statement from his hospital room on Thursday urging people to vote for his brother for mayor.

Ford said he soon would start chemotherapy to treat the cancer that forced him to do what months of scandals over drug and alcohol abuse could not - drop his bid for re-election.

His doctor announced Wednesday that Ford has a malignant liposarcoma.

Ford, who has been hospitalized for more than a week with a tumor in his abdomen, announced Friday that he was pulling out of the Oct. 27 race and his brother Doug, a city councilor, would run in his place.

Ford vowed to beat cancer and said "Toronto needs Doug Ford as mayor"

"I'm encouraging my brother to jump into this race, wholeheartedly, right now," said Ford, his voice sounding hoarse in the three-minute statement. "You, the people of Toronto, have been with me since Day One. Now I ask you to throw your support behind Doug."

Ford thanked the public for the support and said he would return strong for his family and his city.

"With the love and support of my family, my friends, and the people of Toronto - I will beat this," he said.

Rob Ford, who was elected mayor in 2010, is still running for his old city council seat representing a district in his home suburb of Etobicoke, where he gained a faithful following for his brash everyman style and conservative fiscal policies.

Ford's doctor has said the cancer is spreading and that they have found "a small nodule in the buttock" near the left hip.

Ford, 45, has been engulfed in controversy since the Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker last year reported the existence of a video apparently showing the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe. After months of denials, he finally admitted to using crack but adamantly refused to resign, even after Toronto's City Council stripped him of most of his powers. A stream of revelations of erratic behavior, public drunkenness - and a report of another crack video - finally prompted him to enter rehab earlier this year. He returned to work and campaigning in June.

Doug Ford, who has been his brother's most aggressive defender, is expected to face an uphill battle against two other major candidates in the mayoral election. He hasn't started campaigning since he announced he was entering the race.

Ford's doctor has said his cancer makes up only about one percent of all cancers but said he was optimistic about Ford's treatment because they have many experts in sarcoma at the hospital. He said Ford will get two cycles of chemotherapy over the next 40 days in an effort to shrink the tumor, and then they'll assess. He said surgery may or may not be necessary.

The tumor is about 12 centimeters (5 inches) by 12 centimeters (5 inches) and is about two or three years old. It hasn't spread to organs, he said.

Liposarcoma is a type of soft tissue cancer that begins in fat cells, or fatty tissue, and occurs most often in older adults.

Ford's father, Doug Ford Sr., died in 2006 at of colon cancer at the age of 73 three months after he was diagnosed with the disease.

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