ST. PAUL (AP) -- Republican state Representative Nick Zerwas, of Elk River, is resigning from the Minnesota Legislature effective Dec. 6.

In his announcement Monday, the 38-year-old Zerwas said he decided after recent heart surgery that he needs to spend as much time as he can with his wife and 3-year-old son, and to spend his prime working years providing the best possible life for them.

Zerwas was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone more than 11 heart surgeries, including two during his four terms in the Legislature.

Democratic Governor Tim Walz will have to call a special election to fill Zerwas' seat before the 2020 session. He must also call a special election to fill the seat of Democratic Representative Diane Loeffler, of Minneapolis, who died two weeks ago.