ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland’s longtime Senate president Mike Miller is stepping down from his role as he deals with his cancer diagnosis.

Miller is scheduled to met with the Senate’s other 31 Democrats in a closed-door caucus on Thursday.

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The 76-year-old made the announcement at a noon press conference.

Miller has been Maryland’s Senate president since 1987 and is the longest state Senate president in the country’s history..

In January, he announced that he has stage 4 prostate cancer. He has continued to preside over the chamber while undergoing chemotherapy.

On Thursday, Miller said his cancer has metastasized and is in his bones.

“I suffer from anemia, I suffer from fatigue and this is a full-time job, this is a statewide job,” he said. “We need somebody younger and we have those people present in the room.”

The Democratic caucus voted unanimously to nominate Senator William C. “Bill” Ferguson IV, 36, to replace Miller as Senate President. Ferguson represents the 46th district including parts of Baltimore City.

Maryland State Senator William C. “Bill” Ferguson IV

Miller will hand over power in January.

“It’s been a great run. I have enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I think the Senate is more inclusive because of me, it’s been productive because of all of us working together. It’s been a great place to live, a great place to work and the 34 years have been the happiest of my life.”

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The Senate president is chosen by the majority vote in the 47-member chamber.

In a statement, Gov. Larry Hogan thanks Miller for his 33 years of service:

“On behalf of a grateful state, I want to sincerely thank Senate President Mike Miller for his 33 years of dedicated service as president of the Maryland Senate. “As the longest continuously serving presiding officer in the nation, President Miller has been a strong, unifying leader for the legislature and the state. His steady presence and trademark humor will be deeply missed as President, but we are pleased to know that Mike will continue to represent the people of District 27 in the Senate. “I have immense respect for Mike Miller. For the past year, he has shown all of us what courage and determination look like as he faces a very tough personal battle. As we celebrate his historic tenure as president of the Senate, Maryland’s First Lady and I ask all Marylanders to join us in praying for him and his family.”

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said he was happy to hear that Ferguson would be Senate president:

“I am extremely proud that Senator Bill Ferguson was unanimously chosen by his democratic colleagues to serve as Maryland’s next Senate President.”Over the last 8 years, Senator Ferguson has been a fervent advocate for the City of Baltimore, and a dedicated public servant to the residents of Maryland’s 46th District.”With a background in teaching, Senator Ferguson has been a leading voice for increased funding for public education. I know that he will be a passionate advocate for our children, and a committed partner as we work together with his colleagues in the legislature to ensure that Kirwan is fully funded.”I wish Senator Ferguson all the best as he transitions into his new leadership position. I stand ready to partner with him to move Baltimore City, and the State of Maryland forward.”I’d also like to thank Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller for his decades of exemplary service as the President of the Senate. The people of Baltimore wish him improved health as he continues to battle prostate cancer.”

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