Toronto's controversial mayor, Rob Ford, was forced to publicly apologize Tuesday after insinuating in several interviews that a reporter with the city's main newspaper was a pedophile.

Ford also retracted several statements he made recently claiming that journalist Daniel Dale, with The Toronto Star, was a pedophile who tried to photograph his children.

The apology came a day after the time period Dale had given Ford to withdraw his comments had lapsed, a missed deadline that could lead to a libel suit against the Toronto mayor.

The Toronto Star has been publishing a series of news articles about the controversial mayor.

The daily revealed in May the existence of a videotape on which Ford is shown smoking "crack," a powerful and highly addictive drug derived from cocaine.

Ford for months denied that such a video existed or that he had smoked crack, but in November Toronto police revealed that they had the video in their possession after confiscating it during raids on drug trafficking groups in the city.

The police also said that subordinates and friends of Ford tried in May to buy the video from the drug traffickers, allegedly on Ford's orders.

Finally, Ford admitted that he had smoked crack once and apologized for lying about the matter.

He also admitted to driving drunk.

The Toronto Star also published a photo of the mayor in the company of three known criminals, one of whom died in a shootout shortly after the photo was taken.

A subordinate and friend of Ford who tried to buy the video told police that the criminal's death was linked to that recording. EFE