(CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio's father has died, his campaign announced Saturday night. The Republican's campaign will be placed "on temporary hold" for a few days, according to a statement.
Citing his father's deteriorating health, Rubio on Friday withdrew from a debate with Democrat Kendrick Meek that was scheduled to take place Sunday morning on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Read Rubio's statement, after the jump:
"My father knew hard work and struggle from very early in his life. His mother died when he was only 9 years old. The day after his mother was buried he went to work with his father and did not stop working until he was 78 years old.
"He was by far the most unselfish person I have ever known, always focused on others, and never on his own well being. He was especially determined to provide his children opportunities he himself never had.
"My dad worked as a street vendor, security guard, apartment building manager and crossing guard. But for most of his life he was a bartender, and by all accounts a great one. But his greatest success came from the two most important jobs he ever had: husband and father.
"He was very proud of my public service. And over the last 18 months he became an expert channel surfer, constantly searching for my next television interview.
"I was blessed to be raised by a world class father. And I thank God for allowing my father to live long and healthy enough to see that the sacrifices he made for us were not in vain."