09/18/2014 03:03 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:59 EDT

Rob Ford Releases Audio Statement From Hospital

Rob Ford released an audio statement to Torontonians on Thursday, hours before starting chemotherapy to treat his malignant liposarcoma.

Speaking from his hospital bed at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Ford thanked hospital staff and shifted his focus to the city’s upcoming municipal election.

The heart of his statement focused on his brother, Doug, who stepped forward last week to add his name to the mayoral ballot after Ford was forced to withdraw.

“Doug loves this city very much,” Ford said in a waning voice. “When the people get to know Doug as well as I do, they will see a man who cares, a man with vision, a man with integrity and determination.”

Ford is scheduled to undergo two rounds of chemotherapy, according to his doctor. Until medical staff learn how the mayor’s tumour responds, his prognosis remains open. Future surgery and radiation treatments have not yet been ruled out.

Read the full transcript below:

Good afternoon everyone. In a few hours, I will begin my chemotherapy. Then I will spend the next little while with my family, focused on getting better.

But I would like to speak directly to the people of this great city before I do that.

Let me start by saying thank you. Thank you to the great people of Toronto. I am humbled by your overwhelming kindness and support. It means the world to us that so many of you have reached out to show your concern and offer prayers.

I also want to thank the amazing staff at Humber River Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital for the care and compassion you have shown us.

With the love and support for my family and friends and the people of Toronto, I know I will beat this terrible disease. I am determined to face this head on, and return strong for my family and my city.

For the past 14 years as councillor and as mayor, I’ve worked hard to bring about change to City Hall to make life a little bit easier for the average hard-working people of Toronto.

I was not alone in this; my brother Doug was by my side; sharing my vision fighting for the great people of Toronto. I could never have accomplished what we did without him.

Doug loves this city very much. He’s prepared to tackle the issues head on. Last week I asked my brother to carry the torch to continue the work we started together. I’m happy that he’s agreed.

Toronto needs Doug Ford as mayor.

There’s so much at stake in this election. The city’s future and the issues facing Toronto can’t wait. So I’m encouraging my brother to jump into this race wholeheartedly right now.

When the people get to know Doug as well as I do, they will see a man who cares, a man with vision, a man with integrity and determination.

You, the people of Toronto, have been with me since day one. Now I ask you to throw you support behind my brother Doug

Thank you again for your ongoing support and well wishes.

Most important, I want to thank my lovely, caring wife Renata who’s been with me and by my side from day one.

My heart goes out to anyone facing similar health battles and to your families standing strong behind you. But friends, please, please never give up.

Be strong, stay positive, and never ever give up.

God bless all of you and all the best.