Rob Ford died of his more acceptable disease

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford died of cancer after a widely publicized struggle with drug and alcohol addiction

Rob FordAs is now customary with the passing of public figures, social media exploded with condolences for the family of the late Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday, making it clear that a man once the subject of merciless ridicule was now being afforded a level of sympathy and kindness unfathomable just a few short years ago.

Across the Internet and media, punchlines have largely been replaced by dignified tributes, and crude caricatures by staid, objective reporting. Why? Because Rob Ford, alive as an alcoholic, was apparently less deserving of compassion and understanding than Rob Ford, now dead from cancer.

True, the fond remembrances and generous consolations are heartening, refreshing expressions of decency towards a family in grieving, and yes, they should be acknowledged and welcomed as such. To be clear, however, they are also the indisputable byproduct of the type of image makeover nobody wants — a cancer diagnosis.

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