JOHN van't Schip has resigned as Melbourne City boss with immediate effect to return to Holland to be with his ailing father, who is in palliative care.
Assistant coach Michael Valkanis has been appointed interim first-team coach while the club, fourth on the A-League table, 13 points adrift of Sydney in top spot, looks for a replacement.
"I have been faced with a choice between my family in Holland and my work here in Australia and there was only one right decision,” van't Schip said in a statement on Tuesday.
"I did not want my personal circumstances to impact the club in any way. I am part of a strong coaching team that has been carefully nurtured over the last three years and that gives me great confidence that this situation will not adversely affect the club's progress.
"I would like to thank everyone at Melbourne City and the City Football Group for their support. The club's development since its creation will always be a source of great personal pride to me.”
The 53-year-old Dutchman, who enjoyed a famous playing career at Ajax, has had two stints in the A-League - first with Melbourne Heart from 2009 to 2012, before returning to replace John Aloisi in 2013, where he then found himself in charge when the City Football Group arrived to transform the club.
This season he was in charge of City's strongest squad, helmed by Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli, but since winning the FFA Cup, the team's league form has stalled, with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory surpassing them on the table.
After the 2-2 draw at Central Coast on New Year's Eve, van't Schip said: "We are happy with the win in the FFA Cup (final) but that's gone.
"It's part of the season, but looking now at what we have achieved in the last games is what we are not happy about.
"We've dropped too many points - we had four draws and a loss and we were leading 1-0 in all those except the Brisbane game.
"There are too many games where we play one half good, the other half not. It's not consistent and just not good enough.”
After learning of van't Schip's resignation, Melbourne City FC and City Football Group chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: "John's reaction to his personal circumstances is testament to the man he is and why he has been such an important contributor to the club's development both on and off the field, culminating in guiding our men's first team to its maiden trophy.
"He has our ongoing gratitude and support as his focus rightly turns to his family.”