Pierre Karl Peladeau has stepped down as the leader of the Parti Quebecois, effective immediately, less than a year after being elected to the post.

In an announcement made on Monday afternoon, a visibly emotional Peladeau cited his family as the reason for his decision. He will also be giving up his seat at the MNA for the riding of Saint-Jerome.

"I am forced to make a choice, an agonizing choice, between my family and my political project, our political project, which is shared by so many people," he said. "I have chosen my family.

"I am making this decision for the well-being of my children," he continued. "I must remain an example to them."

A PQ source confirmed to CTV Peladeau is quitting over the custody of his children, who are part of mediation talks in his divorce.

There were  troubles in his personal life during his time in politics. He married Julie Snyder, his longtime girlfriend and a prominent television presenter, in a lavish ceremony in August 2015. The couple announced a separation the following January.

Appearing on Radio-Canada's Tout le Monde en Parle Sunday night, Snyder called the confidential mediation process a big challenge, noting that it is important to set a good example of cooperation for their children.

Peladeau’s resignation sent shockwaves through the political sphere.

“The well-being of our loved ones, our children, is what is most precious. We didn’t share the same vision for Quebec but beyond that I know that he was… very driven by his desire for progress in our nation,” said Premier Philippe Couillard.

"I've never seen a press conference like that, full of emotion, full of emotion so there's no faking that," added former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe.

Before entering politics, Peladeau was one of Quebec’s richest men and a pillar of the business community. In 1997, he took the helm of media empire Quebecor, following the passing of his father Pierre, the company’s founder.  In that role, he oversaw Quebecor’s acquisition of the Sun Media newspaper chain and Videotron cable TV company. While he resigned as CEO in 2013, he remained an active part of the company and its controlling shareholder.

In March 2014, Peladeau shocked the province by announcing he would be running for office as the Parti Quebecois’ candidate for the Saint-Jerome riding. While he was elected, the party suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of the Liberals, leading to the resignation of outgoing-Premier Pauline Marois as party leader.

A race to replace Marois followed, with Peladeau emerging victorious in May 2015 with 58 per cent of the vote.

From the time he first announced his candidacy for public office, Peladeau had drawn criticism for his refusal to divest himself of his shares in Quebecor. Political opponents called his ownership of a powerful media company while leading one of the province’s most important political parties a conflict of interest.

Peladeau deflected calls to sell his portion of the company, saying his shares were kept in a blind trust and he had no say into the editorial content of Quebecor’s ownings.

Peladeau's statement was posted to Facebook Monday afternoon: