"It surprised the s--- out of me," Beverly Young said of her husband's plans to leave Congress at the end of his term.
Young, 82, said several factors led to his decision, including his health and his desire to spend more time with his family, the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported Wednesday.
"I don't know that I would pick out one thing. It's a lot of things. My family, my job, my rehabilitation from my back," he said.
Beverly Young said she knew her husband had been having a tough time coping with back problems that over the years shrunk his 6-foot-2 frame down to 5-foot-8, the Times said.
Young, who has been in Walter Reed Medical Center since Friday because of his back, said he recently decided "it's my time" to leave Congress.
Still, when she walked into his hospital room Wednesday and he told her he would retire at the end of his term, Beverly Young said, "it floored me. I cried. I cried hard."
In 2005, Beverly Young said she would seek her husband's seat if she didn't like the field when he retired, the Times said.
If the only Democratic candidate remains St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich, "I may consider running for his seat. She doesn't know what she's doing," Beverly Young, 57, told the Times Wednesday.
Young is completing his 22nd term in Congress and is the senior member of the Florida congressional delegation and the senior Republican in the full Congress, his biography said. He has spent more 50 years in public office, 10 in the Florida Senate and 42 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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