George Smitherman, left, and his husband Christopher Peloso wave as they leave Queens's Park in Nov. 9, 2009, in Toronto. Police say Peloso was reported missing on Sunday, Dec. 29, three months after disappearing for two days. Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
Politicians from all parties and levels of government are paying tribute to Christopher Peloso, the husband of Ontario's former deputy premier George Smitherman, after Peloso was found dead following a long struggle with depression.
Peloso, 40, was found dead after he was reported missing for the second time this year.
Smitherman released a statement saying Toronto police confirmed that his husband had passed away.
"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," wrote Smitherman.
Peloso, who is survived by three children, was last seen on Sunday at approximately 11 a.m. ET
Smitherman has also served as the province's health minister and energy minister before he stepped down to run for Toronto mayor in 2010, a race he lost to Rob Ford.
On Sunday evening, Smitherman tweeted: "Freedom from depression has been elusive for Christopher and once again he is missing and we fear for his safety."
Peloso was also reported missing in September and was found two days later by a police K-9 unit, curled up and lying near a fence that runs along the railway tracks near Lansdowne and Dupont avenues.
Offers of condolence
Former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae said he was "devastated" to learn about Peloso's death.
Rae is a longtime friend of the family.
"I must confess I had been fearing the worst but hoping for the best when he went away for a second time," Rae said.
"Chris was a wonderful man. He was a very sweet man. He was very kind and very loving, very thoughtful person. He was a fascinating sort of partner and husband to George because George is a very dynamic and outspoken and sometimes bombastic individual. Chris, in many ways, was quite the opposite … they had had a wonderful relationship and a wonderful family."
Rae, a mental health advocate, said Peloso was plagued by his ongoing struggle with depression.
"It is just one of those things that takes hold … depression is an illness that affects the mind as it affects the mind, it affects the emotions. Sometimes it can be cured and it can be alleviated," Rae said. "But sometimes it takes you into a place where there is no exit and it sounds like that's what happened to Chris."
An emotional Premier Kathleen Wynne mentioned Peloso on Monday at a news conference about the past week's power outage caused by the ice storm more than a week ago..
Wynne said she had been in contact with Smitherman on Sunday night through email.
"It's a very, very sad day for George and for his family and for Christopher Peloso's family," Wynne said.
She described Peloso as "a kind, gentle, loving man. He'll be hugely missed and my thoughts and love are with George and the kids."
Others voiced their sorrow on Twitter.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to my friend [George] 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.
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