Sen. Coburn, R-Okla., announces early retirement from Senate

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the current congressional session, ending his six-year term two years early.

The Oklahoma Republican has been battling cancer, but said his decision was not based on his health.

"Carolyn and I have been touched by the encouragement we’ve received from people across the state regarding my latest battle against cancer.  But this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires. As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere. In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong," he said in a statement.

Coburn’s departure will cut short a nine-year career in the Senate.  An obstetrician, Coburn served six years in the House in the mid-1990s before stepping down after three terms. He returned to politics in 2004 when one of Oklahoma’s Senate seats opened up. He was easily re-elected in 2010.