"Thank you and goodbye!" said an emotional Gordon Brown as he stepped down as Britain's Prime Minister, ending 13 years of Labour rule.
Being Prime Minister had been "the second most important job I could ever hold", after being a husband and father, Brown said before meeting the Queen to formally resign.
Standing for the last time on the steps of 10 Downing Street that was his home for nearly three years, Brown seemed to crack with emotion. He said it had been a privilege to serve the nation.
Brown succeeded Tony Blair June 27, 2007. His exit makes his term the shortest since Alec Douglas-Home's in 1963-64.
Brown quit as Prime Minister after the Tories late Tuesday struck a deal with the Liberal Democrats, who held the key to government formation, after elections last week threw up Britain's first hung parliament since 1974.
The Conservatives finished on top, just 20 seats short of a majority in the House of Commons, and sewed up a post-election partnership with the third-placed Liberal Democrats to take power.
"My constitutional duty is to ensure that a government can be formed after last week's general election. I have informed the Queen's private secretary that it is my intention to tender my resignation to the Queen," he said, as his wife Sarah stood by him. "I wish the next Prime Minister well."
Brown sought to explain how tough it was to be at the helm of affairs in Britain.
"Only those who have held the office of Prime Minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good. I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature and a fair amount too about its frailties, including my own," he added.
He said he had "loved the job, not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony, which I do not love at all. No, I loved the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous, more just - truly a greater Britain."
Brown's voice quivered as he referred to Britain's deeply contentious military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Now that the political season is over, let me stress that having shaken their hands and looked into their eyes, our troops represent all that is best in our country," he said.
"I will never forget all those who have died in honour and whose families today live in grief."
Brown also paid tribute to his wife Sarah's "unwavering support and her love" and to his sons "for the love they bring to our lives".
He said he was leaving "the second most important job I could ever hold" after that of being a husband and father, which he would now "cherish even more."
He signed off: "Thank you and goodbye."