Former Councilman Michael Brown is dropping out of the D.C. Council at-large race, according to a statement posted on his website.

"It is with extreme disappointment that I am announcing my withdrawal from the At-Large Council race. I have some very important personal and family matters that require my immediate attention. Thank you to my family, friends, and supporters for your understanding," he wrote in the statement. "I will not be making an endorsement. Vote Democrat!"

The surprise move shrinks the number of candidates down to six and changes the dynamic within the competitive field for the April 23 special election.

Brown, whose father, Ron Brown, was once secretary of commerce under President Clinton, had been outfundraised by several other candidates in the race up to this point. Nonetheless, a number of pundits put him in the top tier of the race just a month ago.

The decision comes after a number of D.C. politicians, including Councilman Jack Evans and Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, had endorsed sitting Councilwoman and fellow candidate Anita Bonds.