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Florida surgeon general resigns, announces wife battling cancer

Dr. Frank Farmer, the state's surgeon general and head of the Department of Health, announced his retirement today. His last day will be Friday.

In his letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Farmer said he was stepping down from his post to help care for his wife, Peggy, who is battling breast cancer.

Farmer told Scott that the diagnosis came before Christmas and his wife has undergone surgery and radiation treatments. They both decided it was best for Farmer to continue his work as the state’s chief medical professional through the legislative session, which is scheduled to end Friday.

“We are both confident that she will have a complete recovery and cure but it is time for me to retire and support her and our family through this time,” he wrote.

Excerpt from Farmer’s email to DOH employees:

Throughout my life, events have often occurred which has determined the path I should take. Most of these have benefited me and in fact saved my life on several occasions. However, I have had a recent life changing experience that is not welcome but one which I and my wife must deal with. Peggy has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone surgery and radiation. It was diagnosed early and we and the treating physicians are optimistic for a complete recovery and cure.

My position and the path I must choose have now changed. I want to support my wife and family through this time and accordingly, I am stepping down as State Surgeon General at the end of legislative session to return to my home town of Ormond Beach and be with Peggy. Thank all of you for your support and understanding during this period of our lives.

Farmer is the fourth high-ranking official to resign from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration since the session began. Others include Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Department of Management Services chief Jack Miles and Miles' chief of staff, Brett Ryman.