Toronto's crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford announced Wednesday he is taking a leave of absence to enter rehab after a new photo emerged showing the troubled politician with a copper pipe.
The image was a taken from a video that shows Ford smoking, inhaling and "frantically shaking his right hand," according to the Globe and Mail. The Canadian newspaper said its reporters had watched the footage and confirmed it had purchased five photos.
NBC News could not independently confirm the authenticity or content of the tape.
The Globe and Mail published still photos of the incident and alleged that the self-confessed drug dealer who sold them said Ford was smoking crack cocaine.
The national newspaper reported the film was one of three surreptitiously shot in the basement of the mayor's sister's home at 1:15 a.m. on Saturday.
A photo published by the Globe and Mail shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford with a copper pipe.
After being contacted by the newspaper, Ford's office announced he was to take a break from his campaign to be re-elected as mayor of Canada's biggest city to seek help for alcoholism.
"I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time," Ford said in a statement released later Wednesday night.
"I will conquer this"
Ford went on to say he realizes he needs professional help to recover. He also thanked his supporters and asked for their encouragement throughout his recovery.
"I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me," Ford's statement read. "With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this."
Earlier, Ford's lawyer Dennis Morris told NBC News' partner CTV that the Toronto mayor would enter a "facility that assists people with substance abuse difficulties."
He added: "I think life is just overwhelming at this particular time."
Ford has endured repeated calls to stand down as mayor and was even stripped of many of his powers after admitting in November that he had used crack cocaine “in a drunken stupor.”
Allegations had for months swirled around the mayor after the Toronto Star reported it had been shown a video of the politician smoking the illegal substance. Ford’s admission finally came after Toronto Police said they had recovered a copy of the footage.
Both critics and allies of the embattled mayor subsequently urged him to get help.
In a Nov. 18 interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer, Ford asked Torontonians to give him “five or six months” to clean up his act, adding that if people “don’t see a difference, I’ll eat my words.”
In a follow-up interview with Lauer in February, the mayor said he was turning his life around.
“I don’t use illegal drugs, I experimented with them probably a year ago,” Ford said.
Ford officially kicked off his campaign about two weeks ago, asking voters to stand by him in his October re-election bid.
Last month, signs featuring outrageous campaign slogans popped up all around Toronto spoofing Ford's bad behavior.
The grassroots group behind them hopes they will draw attention to various real candidates who want to replace the current mayor and further its goal of "anyone but Rob Ford."
First published April 30 2014, 6:56 PM