Husband of former Ontario cabinet minister Smitherman found dead

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

George Smitherman (left) and Christopher Peloso during Casey House's Snowball at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens. (Della Rollins For The Globe and Mail)

Christopher Peloso, the husband of former Ontario cabinet minister George Smitherman, has been found dead.

Smitherman said in a statement published via Twitter and his personal website early today that police had confirmed Peloso’s death. Police also issued a statement saying Peloso had been found dead. It gave no details.

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The 40-year-old had been reported missing on Sunday. Peloso had also been reported missing in September before being found by police two days later in a wooded area near train tracks.

Smitherman served as Ontario’s deputy premier, health minister and energy minister before he stepped down to run for Toronto mayor in 2010. The couple was married in August 2007 and have two children.

Mr. Peloso has been a constant presence throughout the past decade of Mr. Smitherman’s political career. The couple’s wedding and decision three years later to adopt children were both widely covered in the media.

In a statement posted overnight, Mr. Smitherman said: “We will celebrate his life and we will find comfort somehow in knowing that he has found peace from the depression that has wreaked havoc on his mind.”

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who ran against Mr. Smitherman and won later that year, released a statement today expressing his condolences.

“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Mr. Christopher Peloso, husband to Mr. George Smitherman, and loving father,” said Mr. Ford’s statement.

“I would ask all Torontonians to extend their condolences to the family during this difficult time.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne became emotional when asked about Mr. Peloso’s death, saying he was a “kind, gentle, loving man.”

“He’ll be hugely missed and my thoughts and love are with George and the kids,” she told reporters.

With a report from Renata D’Aliesio, Jill Mahoney and Canadian Press