POLITICS
05/01/2014 12:46 EDT | Updated 05/01/2014 12:59 EDT

Doug Ford Fights Back Tears, Vows To Stand By Brother Through 'Difficult Journey'

Toronto Councillor Doug Ford fought back tears Thursday as he addressed the news that his brother, Rob, will take a leave of absence from his position of mayor and re-election campaign to deal with his substance abuse issues.

Ford told reporters at a City Hall press conference that it was one of the toughest days of his life but said he also felt some relief.

"As an older brother I am relieved that Rob has faced his problems and has decided to seek professional help," Ford said. "This is not an easy thing for anyone to do, especially when you are the mayor."

Watch the raw video from CityNews Toronto:

Ford nearly broke down while addressing the media.

Ford, who is also serving as his brother's campaign manager, had previously said that the mayor did not have a problem with drugs or alcohol requiring professional help.

The councillor said the mayor was "very emotional" when he spoke with his brother.

"He told me the hardest thing about this is knowing he let people down," Ford said. "He let his family down, he let his friends down, he let his colleagues down, he let his supporters down and he let the people of Toronto down."

Ford said he told Rob that everyone knows someone who has "faced these challenges," and that Torontonians of all political stripes would wish him well.

"I love my brother. I'll continue to stand by my brother and his family throughout this difficult journey," he said. "Please join me in keeping Rob and his family in your prayers.”

Ford appealed for privacy for the mayor's family but did not answer questions about where his brother, who was seen leaving his house with luggage early Thursday morning, is headed.

Diane Ford, mother of Doug and Rob, told a CTV reporter Thursday morning she didn't realize the extent of the mayor's problems.

"I had no idea it was as serious as it was. But then he doesn't live with me so I don't know what he does every minute of every day," she said.

Rob Ford's leave of absence comes after news of a second crack video and a damning audio clip recorded in an Etobicoke bar surfaced Wednesday.

The mayor, who vowed to quit drinking months ago but has repeatedly maintained he doesn't have a drug problem, released the following statement Wednesday night.

Tonight I want to take some time to speak from my heart to the people of Toronto. It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.

Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as Mayor to seek immediate help.

I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100% committed to getting myself right.

I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.

With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers during these difficult days ahead.

I just want to say to the people of Toronto that I thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate it.

Mayor Rob Ford