The husband of former deputy premier George Smitherman was found dead in Toronto Dec 30 after being reported missing for the second time this year.
Christopher Peloso was 40 years old.
Smitherman announced that Peloso had been found dead in a statement released via Twitter early Monday morning.
“Toronto Police just confirmed that my darling Christopher Peloso has been found dead. 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. A son and brother, a husband and father of three, he will always be remembered for his dedication to others. We have been greatly aided by the compassion of the Toronto Police service and we will find strength going forward from the legions of people in our extended family who loved him so,” Smitherman said in his statement.
Smitherman had announced on Twitter Sunday night that Peloso had gone missing and was last seen around 11am in the Bloor and Lansdowne area. He was asking people to help him comb the neighbourhood to look for Peloso.
Police also issued an alert asking the public for help in locating Peloso on Sunday night. By Monday afternoon, police had issued another release stating that members of the public had helped them find Peloso. Police have not issued further comment on how or where Peloso was found or a cause of death.
Smitherman has been a key figure in Ontario politics, serving as MPP for Toronto Centre from 1999 to 2010. He was Ontario’s first openly gay MPP and served as a cabinet minister and deputy premier in Dalton McGuinty’s government. He left Ontario politics in 2010 to launch an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Toronto.
He and Peloso wed in 2007 in a much-publicized ceremony, making Smitherman one of the first major politicians in Canada to enter a same-sex marriage. The couple adopted two children.
Peloso was known to suffer from depression. In September, he went missing for more than a day before he was found by a police canine unit in a confused state near train tracks in Toronto’s west end.
Politicians and public figures of all stripes expressed their condolences Dec 30 as the news spread.
“This is such a deeply sad time for George Smitherman and his family. No tweet can express how sorry I am. Love and prayers to all,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, an out lesbian who served in cabinet with Smitherman, wrote on Twitter.
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