Former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to donate kidney to his wife

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's main opposition leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Monday he will take a few weeks off politics so he can donate a kidney to his wife.

Steinmeier told reporters he would stop working immediately for the surgery and expects to come back to politics in October, news agency DAPD reported.

Steinmeier, 54, was foreign minister from 2005 to 2009. He is now the leader of the opposition for the left-leaning Social Democrats.

Steinmeier's wife Elke Buedenbender is a judge at an administrative court in Berlin. The couple has a 14-year-old daughter.

German media reported that 48-year-old Buedenbender has been suffering from renal insufficiency for years and that her condition dramatically deteriorated recently.

According to daily mass tabloid Bild Zeitung, the couple will undergo surgery as early as Tuesday.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle expressed their concern and wished the couple all the best.