Ontario Premier Doug Ford called former prime minister Brian Mulroney a “mentor” and an “advisor” after the news of his death broke Thursday evening.

“You wanna talk about leadership? You wanna talk about trailblazers, visionaries? That was Brian Mulroney,” Ford said of the 18th leader of Canada at an unrelated event.

“He became a mentor to me. He became an advisor to me anytime I had a tough decision,” Ford said.

Mulroney’s daughter Caroline, who serves as the Minister of Francophone Affairs in Ford’s cabinet, said her father died peacefully and surrounded by family in a post to X.

“On behalf of my mother and our family, it is with great sadness we announce the passing of my father, The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister,” she wrote.

Ford said Caroline called him on the way to Thursday’s Toronto Region Board of Trade event to tell him the news.

Mulroney had previously spoken publicly about his battle with prostate cancer in 2023, and told CTV’s Question Period in May that his doctors had done a “spectacular” job on his care.

Elected in 1984, Mulroney led successive Progressive Conservative majority governments between 1984 and 1993.

Ford recalled Mulroney’s “way with words” in a statement released following the news of his death and said the former leader knew how to capture an audience.

“It didn’t matter if it was a private conversation or a speech to thousands, Brian had an ability to capture a crowd and keep them captivated with his endless supply of stories. Anyone who heard him speak walked away in awe,” Ford wrote.

In a post to X, Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie called Mulroney a “transformative figure” in Canadian politics and offered her condolences to his family.

Mulroney was 84. 

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