Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne announced today that he will take a medical leave of absence from the online retail giant.

Revealed in a letter to shareholders, the move comes as the online retailer moves ahead with plans to launch a blockchain-powered securities exchange, dubbed tØ.

Overstock has spent millions on that initiative, and the firm recently indicated its intention to issue its own stock on the platform in the future. Byrne himself has become a noteworthy advocate for the emerging technology since the online retailer first started taking bitcoin payments in 2014.

Byrne said in the letter that treatment related to a diagnosis of hepatitis C, an infectious disease that targets the liver, is the primary driver behind the “indefinite” leave.

Byrne has recommended that Overstock special counsel and senior vice president Mitch Edwards serve as acting chief executive.

In the letter, Byrne suggested that Edwards would be well-suited to continue spearheading the firm’s blockchain efforts, stating:

“Mitch is an outstanding full-spectrum entrepreneur who has serving as our general counsel for six months and has learned our business, and understands our t0 efforts to revolutionize the capital markets.”

Image via Overstock

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