AYER -- Former Ayer selectman James Fay explained on Tuesday that he resigned last week because his wife, Ann, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

In a statement to the public, Fay said the health situation requires his full attention.

"We ask all our friends and supporters during this difficult time to honor our privacy in this matter," he said.

Fay submitted a resignation letter to Town Clerk John Canney last week, leaving four selectmen on the board. Fay, a four-term member, also served on the Joint Boards of Selectmen. As an active member in the veteran community, he helped erect the Town Hall veterans memorial.

Fay said he and his wife, diagnosed on Jan. 29, will return to public life when they are able to do so.

"We are blessed to be in Ayer and in the community of Nashoba Valley Medical Center, which is taking care of us," he said.

"Ann and I live in the real world, so we're going to beat this and we're going to win this challenge that was put forth suddenly," he added.

With only two months before next year's elections, selectmen might not vote to replace Fay. A new law will reduce the five-member board down to three next year.

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