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BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, who was diagnosed with labyrinthitis in September, announces Oct. 7 that he won't be running as leader in the next provincial election.CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

Early in September, BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver was about to deliver the keynote address to a conference of the Canadian Propane Association when he suddenly became ill. An ambulance trip to the emergency department led to a diagnosis of labyrinthitis.

For anyone suffering with the same condition, Mr. Weaver had a warning. "I advise you prepare for a debilitating onslaught of symptoms that are unsettling,” he said on Twitter after his experience.

Labyrinthitis is an inner-ear disorder that can induce vertigo, nausea, ringing in the ears and loss of hearing.

Andrew Weaver will step aside as BC Green leader, party to elect replacement before next provincial election

The online B.C. health website, HealthLinkBC, says the condition occurs when the labyrinth, a part of the inner ear that helps control an individual’s balance, gets swollen and inflamed.

The cause is not clear, but the condition can be triggered by a viral infection. The main symptom, vertigo, “makes you feel like you’re spinning or whirling. It may make it hard for you to walk," the website says. It typically begins without warning and can be severe enough to cause vomiting. The symptoms, including hearing loss, generally don’t last more than a few weeks. Mr. Weaver reduced his work schedule for a few weeks before returning to what he described as his usual “fighting form.”

But Mr. Weaver had already secretly decided that it was time to give up the leadership of his party – a decision known at the time to only three other people. He said Monday the medical scare confirmed his decision to recalibrate his work-life balance.