LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, who previously announced he would retire this year from Congress, has resigned immediately from his seat.

Davis, a Republican from Kentucky's 4th District, said in a statement that a family health issue has developed recently that needs more of his time and that he would resign effective Tuesday.

There was no immediate word on the specifics of the health issue Tuesday night.

Republican Thomas Massie and Democrat Bill Adkins are running to succeed Davis in November's general election.

The 53-year-old fiscal and social conservative has served a district that stretches along the upper tier of Kentucky from the Louisville suburbs to the West Virginia border since 2005.

The office of Gov. Steve Beshear, (D), Ky., learned of the resignation late Tuesday afternoon, said spokesperson Kerri Richardson.  Beshear's aides were researching the next steps in naming a replacement for Davis, whether that involved an appointment or a special election. 

Richardson could not confirm the governor's office had received Davis' letter.  Beshear is traveling on a trade mission in Europe this week. 

Davis was first elected in 2004.  He and his wife Pat live in Hebron, Ky.

Davis' statement:

"I thank the people of Kentucky's Fourth District for the honor of serving as their Congressman over the last eight years.

"When I was a Cadet at West Point, I internalized the words of the U.S. Military Academy's motto, ‘Duty, Honor, Country.'  Next, I learned that success was based on honoring God, Family, and Work, in that order.  In December 2011, I decided that in order to honor those values, I needed to retire from Congressional service so I could more effectively serve my family as a husband and father.

"Those priorities continue to guide my decisions.  Recently, a family health issue has developed that will demand significantly more of my time to assist.  As a result, I cannot continue to effectively fulfill my obligations to both my office and my family.  Family must and will come first. 

"Therefore, I am resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives effective at close of business on July 31, 2012.

"I have served with great men and women in the Congress in both parties, and leave knowing that the House is filled with people who love this country and are working to make our future better.  I am grateful to have been blessed by being a part of this great institution."

Congressman Davis submitted his resignation today to Governor Steve Beshear and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

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