Gordon Taylor has announced that he will be stepping down as chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).
The 74-year-old has been in charge of the organisation since 1981, but has been under increasing pressure in recent months and years, and confirmed his departure at the PFA's AGM on Wednesday.
In a video posted on the PFA's official Twitter account, Taylor confirmed that a process to appoint his successor would be underway in the near future, and conveyed his pride at being chief executive.
He said: "The PFA has been my life for 40 years and I am deeply proud of everything it has achieved to support the work of professional footballers at a time of rapid change in our sport and society.
"From our work to rehabilitate English football after the nadir of the 1980s and the European bans to the work securing our Premier League rights in the early 2000s, we have done all that we can to make professional football a better place and better environment."
He added: "Now however, is the time to stop, reflect on what it has achieved and consider how best it needs to continue to evolve, to keep pace with the development of professional football."
Taylor has been heavily criticised from former players for his sizeable remuneration - last year he received £2.3m - and over the PFA's lateness in funding research into dementia.
His exit comes in the wake of public criticism from PFA chairman Ben Purkiss, who has pushed for an independent review of the union, with more than 300 players and ex-players understood to have endorsed a letter calling for Taylor's resignation.