Mike Moritz steps back, cites illness

May 21, 2012, 6:55 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Michael Moritz, the legendary venture capitalist behind such investments as Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and Zappos, is stepping down from day-to-day management of Sequoia Capital due to a medical condition.

In an email sent to Sequoia investors, Moritz said that he has been “diagnosed with a rare medical condition which can be managed but is incurable,” adding that he feels good right now but that his “quality of life” is likely to decline over the next decade.

Moritz will transition into a chairman position with Sequoia Capital, with existing partner Doug Leone assuming many of Moritz’s organizational responsibilities. The change is not expected to affect Moritz’s investment activity in the short-term, as he is plans to both maintain existing board seats and take new ones.

From the email:

I am going to extract myself from the daily management of Sequoia Capital, a task that has consumed a large part of my time for the past sixteen years.  I will become Chairman of Sequoia Capital and will be deeply involved with nurturing the fresh investments, ideas and relationships that can be of significant long-term benefit for all of us.  I will also work very closely with some of our younger and newer members, will continue my role as Managing Member of existing funds and maintain all my current company responsibilities.  I will use twelve to fourteen weeks – sprinkled throughout the course of each year – for various pursuits, diversions and trivial indulgences.

Sequoia currently is investing out of a $1.3 billion fund closed in 2010. Moritz’s board seats include Sugar, GameFly (GFLY), Green Dot Corp. (GDOT), LinkedIn (LNKD),  Kayak and Klarna.

On a personal note, best of luck to Mike as he battles his condition. As a former reporter, he has always managed to keep information close to his vest without seeming rude about it — something that folks like me really appreciate. “No comment, but thanks for asking,” has been my most regular interaction with him, but it is much more appreciated than anyone outside the business could probably understand.