TORONTO – Politicians of all stripes expressed condolences Monday after the husband of a former Ontario cabinet minister was found dead.
George Smitherman broke the grim news on Twitter, saying police had confirmed the death of his husband Christopher Peloso.
A statement issued by Toronto police gave no further details, only that he had been found Monday.
“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,” Smitherman said.
Messages of grief and sympathy were pouring in from political circles, including from one of Smitherman’s former political rivals.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who ran against Smitherman and won in October 2010, released a statement 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 Ford’s statement.
“I would ask all Torontonians to extend their condolences to the family during this difficult time.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who knew Peloso as well as Smitherman, said it was a “very, very sad day” for both men’s families.
Her voice breaking, she described Peloso as a “kind, gentle, loving man” who would be “hugely missed.”
Others voiced their sorrow on Twitter.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to my friend @G_Smitherman and his two wonderful children on their loss,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wrote.
“Heartbroken to hear the sad news about Christopher Peloso. All my thoughts are with George and his family in this difficult time,” wrote Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair tweeted that he was “deeply sorry” for Smitherman’s loss.
Peloso was last seen around 11 a.m. Sunday in west-end Toronto (in the Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue area).
The 40-year-old, who married Smitherman in 2007, also went missing in September and was found by a police dog 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.
Peloso is survived by Smitherman, their two children and a child from a previous marriage.