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Democratic star to enter rehab for alcohol abuse

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Gillum previously served as mayor of Tallahassee, Florida A rising star of the Democratic party has said he will enter a rehabilitation centre following news that police found him heavily intoxicated in a hotel.Andrew Gillum, a former Florida mayor turned political commentator, said he would step down from…

Andrew GillumImage copyright
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Mr Gillum previously served as mayor of Tallahassee, Florida

A rising star of the Democratic party has said he will enter a rehabilitation centre following news that police found him heavily intoxicated in a hotel.

Andrew Gillum, a former Florida mayor turned political commentator, said he would step down from public roles after he was found in a Miami hotel room with another man believed to be overdosing on crystal meth.

Mr Gillum, 40, apologised and said the episode was “a wake-up call” to seek help.

He had been struggling with alcohol abuse since becoming depressed after narrowly losing the 2018 Florida governors race, he said.

“Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated,” Mr Gillum said.

“I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”

The former gubernatorial candidate was mayor of Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, from 2014 to 2018. He has since become a political commentator on CNN and led a voter registration campaign in his state.

He was found intoxicated in a Miami hotel room on Friday.

Police had been called to the hotel room to treat the individual suspected of overdosing.

Mr Gillum, who had been in town for a wedding, was inebriated and initially unable to communicate, local media reported.

Police also found three bags of what was thought to be crystal meth in the room, but Mr Gillum said that he never used the drugs, and had only “had too much to drink”.

He was not charged with any crimes and was allowed to leave the hotel after a medical check.

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Mr Gillum narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race to Trump loyalist Ron DeSantis

Mr Gillum, the first Democratic African-American nominee for Florida governor, narrowly lost the 2018 race to Republican Ron DeSantis, a Trump loyalist.

The margin of loss was less than one percentage point.

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Media captionHow the race for governor played out in the run-up to the vote

It was unclear how Mr Gillum was acquainted with the man with whom he was discovered, named by US media as Travis Dyson.

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