BOSTON (AP) - Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has announced he won't seek re-election to an unprecedented sixth term after nearly two decades in office.
Menino told well-wishers gathered at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall Thursday afternoon that "I will leave the job that I love."
Menino's announcement came in the wake of persistent health problems including a six-week hospital state last year to treat a respiratory infection and a compression fracture in his spine. He says, "I'm back to a mayor's schedule, but not a Menino schedule"
His decision not to run is expected to spark a political stampede to fill the coveted seat.
Menino wasn't always the smoothest of political figures, but he earned a reputation as one of the hardest working, from filling potholes to shaping the city's skyline.
He also became a prominent voice nationally in favor of stricter gun control measures.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)