Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to reporters at City Hall Tuesday that he has smoked crack cocaine.
UPDATE: At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Ford again apologized for his behaviour but vowed to stay on as mayor. "I was elected to do a job and that's exactly what I'm going to continue doing," he said. Read the full transcript of Ford's speech.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But do I? Am I an addict? No," he said. "Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago."
Listen to Ford's confession below
Ford had been under intense scrutiny after The Toronto Star and Gawker reported in May on the existence of a video that they said appeared to show the mayor smoking crack. Ford suggested the video did not exist.
Ford reiterated on Tuesday his desire to see the release of a video that is currently in possession of Toronto police, allegedly showing him smoking the drug.
"Yes, I've made mistakes, all I can do now is apologize and move on,'' the mayor said.
"You guys kept referring to alcohol ... there's been times when I've been in a drunken stupor. That's why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape."
The mayor also denied he has been lying for months.
"I wasn't lying," he told reporters. "You didn't ask the correct questions. No, I'm not an addict and no I do not do drugs.''
Ford later told The Toronto Sun that he is not taking a leave of absence or stepping down.
"I feel like I got 1,000 pounds off my back," Ford told the reporter. "I felt I had to say it. It is what is. I feel two inches high right now but I needed to deal with it."
Legal experts, however, have said Ford has no right to call for the video to be made public given that it is now evidence in the extortion case against his friend and occasional driver, Alexander (Sandro) Lisi.
Lisi, 35, has been charged with extortion in relation to the alleged video.
A spokeswoman for Toronto police wouldn't say how Ford's comments would impact an ongoing police investigation, saying only that "the information will be passed on to investigators."
Ford's unexpected statement left many people stunned.
The premier of Ontario said she was concerned that Ford's personal issues were making it difficult for the business of the city to carry on in a normal way.
"We want municipalities to be able to function and there is a huge amount of turmoil at city hall right now," said Kathleen Wynne.
"The police service and the judicial system have to take action. But the mayor will have to make his decisions about what is appropriate right now."
Justice Minister Peter MacKay told Ottawa reporters "the mayor needs to get help."
At city hall, some who worked with Ford said his latest admission was a clear sign that he needed to step back from the mayor's chair.
A member of Ford's executive committee — which works closely with the mayor — said some councillors were bringing a motion against the mayor that could strip him of some of his powers.
"He needs to take a break, he needs to consider what's best for him, what's best for this city," said Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong.
"I'm concerned that there may be more information coming out that's going to continue distracting important business of the city."
Others were more blunt in their assessment of the mayor.
"Right now he does not have a shred of credibility, given what he has said," said Coun. Jaye Robinson.
"The real issue is getting the mayor to address his health issues, step aside, take a leave of absence, as I've been saying for six long months."
Robinson added that Ford's often contradictory statements over the last few months have taken a toll on Toronto and its international brand.
"It's a circus and if anybody is saying it's not affecting the business of the city they're not being honest," she said. "We've also become the laughing stock of North America, if not the world."
Ford's revelation on Tuesday splashed the Toronto scandal on the front pages of many international news sites, with BBC, CNN and the New York Times all reporting the mayor's latest about-face.
Despite the pressure on Ford to step down, municipal law makes no provision for his forced removal from office unless he's convicted and jailed for a criminal offence. The province has said it has no plans to change the law.
With files from The Canadian Press
There will be plenty of council fallout. Earlier today, two councillors proposed a motion that would strip Ford of many of his powers.
Ford could also face resignations from councillors on his executive committee or members of his staff could also resign.
Ford's legal battles have also not ended. Wire taps from Project Traveller and Brazen 2 could add to Ford's woes if they are released to the public.
Toronto's City Hall reporters will have plenty to do in the coming days.
Mayor left the press conference. But journalists now trying to get reactions from councillors.
"With today's announcement, I know I embarrassed everyone in this city and I will be forever sorry.
There is only one person to blame for this and that is myself. I know admitting my mistake was the right thing to do and I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders.
I can't explain how difficult this was to do. I hope, I hope that nobody, that nobody has to go through what I have gone through. I know what I did was wrong and admitting it was the most difficult and embarrassing thing I have ever had to do.
Folks, I have nothing left to hide. I would do anything, absolutely anything, to change the past. But the past is the past and we must move forward. I wanna be clear, I want to be crystal clear to every single person, these mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again. I kept this from my family, especially my brother Doug, my staff, my council colleagues, because I was embarrassed and ashamed.
To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down and I can't do anything else but apologize and apologize. And I'm so sorry. I know, I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence.
I love my job, I love my job, I love this city, I love saving taxpayers money, I love being your mayor.
There is important work that we must advance and important decisions that must be made. For the sake of the taxpayers of this great city, for the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately.
We must keep Toronto moving forward. I was elected to do a job and that's exactly what I'm going to continue doing. In 2010, I made a commitment to Toronto voters I have delivered on that commitment and I will continue to deliver on the commitment of saving taxpayers money.
But they have a choice, we live in a democracy, and on October 27 of 2014, I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.
Again, I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely apologize. God bless Toronto. Thank you very much."
"I will be forever sorry. There is only one person to blame for this, and that is myself. I know that admitting my mistake..."
We'll be tweeting highlights and quotes as they come.
"Let's get our popcorn and let's stand by," says Mayor Ford's lawyer on CP24. He also says the mayor loves his job and likely won't leave.
Even the sports stations... RT @TSN1050Radio: We will be carrying Mayor Rob Ford's press conference live momentarily.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) 5 years ago
According to reporters there, mayor will be speaking soon.
Robyn Doolittle crawls under TV tripods to get near front of pack. Pays to be petite on days lokie this. Or tall.— Royson James (@RoysonJames) 2 years ago
This is what awaits Mayor Rob Ford when he comes to make his announcement in minutes http://t.co/EFrrPPvqoM— Russ Courtney (@Russ_Courtney) 3 years ago
A member of the mayor's staff suggests to me that Ford will not be stepping down. Whether that rules out a medical leave too - I'm not sure— robyndoolittle (@robyndoolittle) 5 years ago
#topoli The gates of the castle swing open... http://t.co/mZLq97HBi1— John Lorinc (@JohnLorinc) 4 years ago
Rob Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris expects his client to "continue his job as mayor." #TOpoli #Toronto— Antony Robart (@AntonyRobart) 4 years ago
Reporters are saying that the mayor will speak in 10 minutes. They have been waiting for almost an hour.
Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum reacted to Rob Ford's big news.
" “As a human being I think that the mayor of Toronto needs to get help.” — Peter MacKay
Vice magazine is reporting that Rob Ford's office hired a hacker to try to erase the crack video.
In late July, an anonymous source approached VICE with claims that he had been hired by Amin Massoudi, the communications director for troubled Toronto mayor Rob Ford, to hack into a website.
Mayor Ford has apologized for many things this week but not for making homophobic and racist remarks. #TOpoli— Kristyn Wong-Tam 黃慧文 (@kristynwongtam) 4 years ago
Rob Ford has been in the news for years leading up to today's confession. Here's a timeline.
The hashtag #InADrunkenStupor became a popular meme minutes after Ford made his confession earlier today. Check out some of the best tweets.
Part of media crush. #Toronto #Topoli http://t.co/999CqLOsZQ— Katie Simpson (@KatieSimpson24) 4 years ago
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he announced that he had smoked crack cocaine.
"Exactly, yes I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably approximately about a year ago. I answered your question. You asked the question properly, I'll answer it. Yes, I've made mistakes, all I can do now is apologize and move on."