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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford pauses before a mayoral election debate in Toronto in this file photo taken March 26, 2014. Ford will take a leave of office to get help for a substance abuse problem, according to news reports.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

The following is the text of a statement issued Wednesday evening under the name of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Tonight I want to take some time to speak from my heart to the people of Toronto. It's not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.

Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as Mayor to seek immediate help.

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I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100 per cent committed to getting myself right.

I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.

With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers during these difficult days ahead.

I just want to say to the people of Toronto that I thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate it.

Mayor Rob Ford

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