09/18/2014 03:05 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:59 EDT

Transcript of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's message from hospital

TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford released a recorded message from hospital Thursday to thank the public for the support he has received since doctors announced the 45-year-old politician is suffering from a rare and aggressive type of cancer.

A transcript of the three-minute recorded message:

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 good 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 of my family, my 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 for my city.

For the past 14 years, as councillor and as mayor, I have worked hard to bring about change at 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 never could 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 and continue the work that 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 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 1. Now I ask you to throw your support behind my brother Doug.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and well wishes. But most importantly, I want to thank my lovely caring wife Renata, who has been with me and by my side from Day 1.

My heart goes out to anyone facing similar health battles. And to your families, we're 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.