The US general nominated to become commander of Nato forces in Europe has withdrawn from consideration and resigned from the military, months after becoming entangled in the David Petraeus sex scandal.
Gen John Allen had been nominated by the White House to take over the alliance's most senior military role but yesterday submitted his resignation in order to "address health issues within his family".
The former head of international forces in Afghanistan found his scheduled promotion derailed late last year when it emerged that he had exchanged hundreds of emails with a married Florida socialite.
The correspondence between Gen Allen (59) and Jill Kelley (37) came to light as authorities tried to untangle a complex web of communications related to Mr Petraeus's affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Mrs Broadwell allegedly sent Mrs Kelley anonymous and threatening emails, warning her to stay away from Gen Allen and Mr Petraeus while the two men were posted at a military command in Tampa, Florida.
Yesterday, US President Barack Obama said he had met Gen Allen and "accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family".
Gen Allen told 'The Washington Post' that he wanted to focus on helping his wife, Kathy, who has chronic health problems.
"Right now, I've just got to get her well," Gen Allen said. "It's time to take care of my family."
He said his decision was not related to the episode over his email exchanges with Mrs Kelley.
As investigators looked into her emails they stumbled across thousands of pages of correspondence with Gen Allen and raised concerns with the Pentagon.
While Mr Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA last year, Gen Allen was cleared of wrongdoing by a defence department investigation and authorities concluded that no affair had taken place. (© Daily Telegraph, London)