Essex town councillor Bill Caixeiro has resigned his seat for personal reasons.

Council learned the news at tonight’s regular meeting and was clearly in a state of shock.

“I can't believe it,” said Mayor and close friend Ron McDermott. “I was just with him a few days ago. Now I can understand why he didn't call me all weekend."

Details about Caixeiro’s resignation are scarce. He did not indicate his reasons for resigning his council seat -- only that it was for personal reasons. He asked for privacy for his family for the next few weeks.

This is Caixeiro second stint on Essex council.

He previously served from 2003-2006, returning for a second term in 2014.

Caixeiro did a lot of committee work, serving as the chair of the Essex police services board and the personnel committee. He is the vice-chair of the finance committee and the harbour steering committee.

He's also a board member for the arts, culture and tourism committee and the communities in bloom committee.

The mayor and councillors are still emotional over the news.

“The guy is just a ball of energy. It's unbelievable. I tried to tell him three years ago, slow down, slow down, said McDermott. “I hope it's not sickness. I don't know much about him other than the letter he sent."

Coun. Larry Snively added, "He put 110 per cent into it. I don't know what the reason is, it was a shock.”

“As a matter of fact, I was at Bill's house yesterday for about half an hour, and talking to him, he was laughing and joking with me. He never let on anything was going on. It's a shock," Snively said.

Council will meet again in two weeks to finalize next steps in terms of filling that seat.

Town clerk Rob Auger says they have two options to consider, either appoint a replacement for the remainder of Caixeiro’s term, or hold a by-election.

If they go with the by-election option, Auger says Caixeiro’s seat will be absent for another 3-4 months.

Mayor Ron McDermott says most of council is leaning towards an appointment. If that's the case, they will likely look to the runners-up from ward three in the last election back in 2014.