UPDATE: Fighting through tears and gripping emotion, Indiana 4th District Congressman Steve Buyer (R) announced his plans for retirement.

Buyer says he's walking away because his wife Joni is suffering from an incurable form of auto immune disease. The same illness that her sister died from 21 months ago.

With Joni by his side Buyer said, "Today I am announcing my retirement from the United States Army Reserves this summer and retirement from the United States Congress at the conclusion of this term due to the recent diagnosis of Joni."

It's been a tough road for the couple who learned of Joni's illness last fall.

"On November 24th of 2009 and reconfirmed then on January 19th here at Clarian and further again today Joni has been diagnosed with what doctors call an incure, an incurable auto immune disease," Buyer explained.

The announcement comes at a time when the veteran congressman has been under scrutiny because of his education group, the Frontier Education Foundation. A Washington watchdog group is upset that the Frontier Foundation was formed to provide scholarships but so far has failed to deliver.

Buyer declined to address that issue during his retirement announcement.

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In a press conference Thursday morning, Indiana Republican Congressman Steve Buyer announced he won't seek re-election this year and will leave Congress after 18 years.

Buyer said he plans to retire due to his wife being diagnosed with a terminal auto immune disease. Her sister died from the same condition 21 months ago.

Buyer was emtional as he spoke to the media, saying "its been an honor."

The 51 year-old is the top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and represents Indiana's heavily Republican 4th district.

He has faced questions in recent months about a private scholarship foundation he created that had raised more than $880,000 since 2003 without awarding any scholarships. He has defended his handling of the foundation.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

"Steve Buyer came back from Desert Storm to become part of a reform movement that took Washington by storm. He has served Indiana and his country well for 18 years. We thank him for his service and know he'll continue to find ways to extend it in private life, " said Daniels.

"Joni Buyer has been a great citizen in her own right. I know every Hoosier joins me in sending her our love and our hopes for a full and quick recovery," he added.

Fox59's Derrick Wilkerson will have a report on Buyer's resignation on Fox59 News: First at Four.

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Fox59 News has learned from two different sources that Indiana 4th District Congressman Steve Buyer will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of his current term.

Buyer held a press conference Friday at the Indiana University Hospital where he made the announcement. Buyer said he plans to retire due to his wife being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Her sister died from the same condition 21 months ago.

State Senator Brandt Hershman, Dan Evans and John Hammond joined Congressman Buyer for the announcement.

Fox News in Washington has learned that Buyer will not seek re-election this fall amid an ethics probe focusing on a non-profit foundation designed to fund academic scholarships.

Questions were first raised in August about the way he ran the Frontier Foundation, which operated out of his campaign offices in Monticello, IN. Buyer later made structural changes to the organization and moved it out of his campaign shop.

The Committee on Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint against Buyer, alleging he "violated ethics rules by abusing a charity for private purposes and by trading legislative assistance for donations to the charity and a job for his son." Buyer's son Ryan served as a director for the Frontier Foundation.

The Office of Congressional Ethics and the IRS are also scrutinizing Buyer's foundation for not actually raising academic assistance money as it never actually awarded any scholarships.

Buyer served as a Representative to the U.S. House since 1993.

Buyer is from Renssalaer. He served in Operation Desert Storm and holds the title of Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Eli Lilly has been a major source of fundraising to his campaign.