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Doug Ford speaks at a press conference outside his mother's Etobicoke home on Sept 12 2014. After nomination papers for his brother Rob were withdrawn, Doug filed his nomination papers to make his run for the mayor.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

An emotional Doug Ford says he's "taking the torch" from brother Rob Ford by running for mayor.

At a press conference in front of the home of Diane Ford, the Ford brothers' mother, Doug spoke with reporters about why he registered Friday afternoon to run for the city's top job in place of his brother. Earlier this week, Rob was hospitalized with an abdominal tumour, and the full extent of his medical condition is not yet known.

"Today, I stand here with mixed emotions and a very heavy heart," he said, his voice quivering as he spoke.

"I've always known how much Rob loves his job -- how committed he is to the people of this city," he said. "He asked me to tell people just how much he really cares. This is more than a job for Rob. It's his life's work."

A teary Diane, Doug's wife and his three daughters stood behind him, as well as a number of other members of the Ford family. Several dozen neighbours and supporters stood just off to the side, cheering Doug on.

Doug said that Rob "told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better."

Doug Ford officially signed his registration papers Friday afternoon, just minutes before the deadline for candidates to register. Around the same time, Rob issued a statement saying he'd asked his brother to "finish what we started together, so that all we've accomplished isn't washed away."