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Rob Ford sedated, receiving palliative care, chief of staff says

Last Updated Mar 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm EST

City councillor Rob Ford is sedated and receiving palliative care, according to his chief of staff Dan Jacobs.

Jacobs said that at this point there has been no change in the former mayor’s condition but added that Ford is now unconscious and has been sedated for the pain.

“At this time, the treatment that Councillor Ford is receiving is palliative in nature,” Jacobs said in a statement. “Palliative care is often administered in conjunction with other treatments, and he has in fact been receiving it almost since first becoming diagnosed, both at home and the hospital.”

On Friday, Jacobs said that Ford was alert and conscious.

It was announced last week that Ford’s cancer was not responding to treatment.

Ford was admitted to hospital three weeks ago but hasn’t been strong enough to undergo chemotherapy since then. His last session was in early February. Jacobs said that doctors are attempting to strengthen Ford enough for another round.

Ford’s family will not speak to the media but Jacobs said are still staying with him through the night and remain “hopeful.”

Palliative care is often seen as end-of-life, or comfort care, for those with life-threatening conditions, but Jacobs said Ford is there so that he can be kept comfortable and to ease his pain.

“Part of his palliative care includes sedation, which is also an element of the team’s pain management,” Jacobs explained. “As Councillor Ford and his brother Doug have said several times throughout the course of treatment, pain has been an ongoing issue, and the Councillor is now resting comfortably thanks to the efforts of his medical team.”

Jacobs said Ford has not been moved to any kind of palliative care unit, and that he “remains on the same floor, and on the same wing where he has received his chemotherapy treatments.”

Notes of support were also pouring in on a “get-well-soon” website set up for Ford, which had more than 6,400 comments by Monday afternoon.

“We would like to thank the great people of Toronto for all the support that we have received in light of Rob’s recent developments with his battle against cancer,” Doug Ford said in a message posted on the website.

Ford was diagnosed with cancer in September 2014, less than a year after he confessed to smoking crack while in one of his “drunken stupors.”

The illness forced him to withdraw from his bid for re-election as mayor and he ran instead for a seat on city council, winning in a landslide despite his notoriety.

Ford’s term as mayor featured a series of headline-grabbing antics, including slurs against minorities, lewd remarks about his sex life and his admission of serious crack cocaine and alcohol abuse.