(Reuters) - Melissa Gilbert, best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder in the 1970s television drama “Little House on the Prairie,” has dropped out of the race for a U.S. congressional seat in Michigan for medical reasons.
Gilbert, 52, said continued problems from neck and back injuries from a 2012 accident forced her to give up her Democratic candidacy for the Republican-held seat.
“While I have received the best treatment and therapy I could have asked for, those injuries have only gotten worse,” Gilbert said in a statement. “As much as it breaks my heart to say this, my doctors have told me I am physically unable to continue my run for Congress.”
Gilbert, who lives with her husband, actor Timothy Busfield, in Howell, Michigan, about 60 miles (100 km) from Detroit, has no political background but served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 2001 to 2005.
She is the author of three books, including “Prairie Tale: A Memoir,” about her role in the show about a Minnesota farm family in the 1870s and 1880s.
Gilbert’s departure from the race improved the already strong odds that U.S. Representative Mike Bishop, a Republican, would win a second two-year term in the district, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Reporting by Justin Madden in Chicago; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Peter Cooney