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Andrew Gillum enters rehab for alcohol abuse

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 3/16/2020 By Lisa Maria Garza, Orlando Sentinel
Andrew Gillum wearing a suit and tie: Andrew Gillum speaks during the Women's March outside of the MANA Wynwood Convention Center on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. © Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS Andrew Gillum speaks during the Women's March outside of the MANA Wynwood Convention Center on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum announced Sunday he is entering a rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcohol abuse.

On Thursday, Miami Beach police found Gillum in a hotel room with two other people and three small plastic bags containing suspected crystal meth.

The former Tallahassee mayor later confirmed his presence in the hotel room but denied the use of methamphetamines.

Gillum stated he was in town for a wedding and had too much to drink. First responders were called to the hotel room to assist one of his friends, he said.

But a police report said authorities were called to the hotel room in response to a possible drug overdose. Gillum was “unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state,” the report said.

“This has been a wakeup call for me,” Gillum said in a statement Sunday. “Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse.”

Gillum’s statement included an apology to his family, friends and supporters in Florida.

“I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person,” he said.

Gillum won the 2018 primary and became the first black major-party nominee for governor in Florida’s history. He went on to narrowly lose the November election to Republican Ron DeSantis by 0.4% of the vote.

Since then, Gillum has been involved in movements to engage voters and increase registration.

“I now need to firmly focus on myself and my family,” he said. “I will be stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future.”

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©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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