Essendon's favourite son James Hird has resigned from his position as coach of the Bombers.
Hird sensationally quit following an Essendon Board meeting on Monday night, The Age first reported.
The loss to the Adelaide Crows on Saturday by more than 100 points, and the emotional weight of the long-running supplements scandal are expected to have been the catalyst for the decision.
An emotional Hird was defiant on Tuesday afternoon as he confirmed his resignation.
"Personally, some of you may disagree, I believe I'm a good coach," he told a press conference.
"I have always cared deeply for the (players) as people. I truly thank you guys with all my heart."
He made reference to the emotional toll his tenure as coach, which began in 2011, took on his family.
"I'm truly sorry for what you've had to endure. In making this decision I hope we all get a chance to move on," he said.
"My hesitation in leaving the football club at this time is that I'm leaving the players at a time they still need strong guidance and care."
Hird made clear reference to his fractious relationship with the AFL throughout the ASADA scandal, which saw him sidelined for a season.
"I do hope that the AFL industry will finally give the players a chance to play football."
It is believed Hird and the football club have agreed to a significant payout figure as he has a year left on his coaching contract.
The reality is the shadow cast by the supplements saga following the 2012 season has never dissipated, despite his temporarily distancing himself from the team and the club last year by taking an overseas sabbatical.
Seated alongside club President Xavier Campbell and Chairman Paul Little at Tuesday's press conference, Hird was succinct in his explanation of the process which lead to this decision.
He had met with Campbell and Little over the past few weeks and queried whether they and the administration felt his continuing tenure as coach would be detrimental to both the club and the players. When he realised this concern was shared by all, he tendered his resignation to the Board on Monday night where the decision was ratified.
Hird said he wanted the club to be about football again and not a daily media item. "I felt the club needed space."
James Hird is the last key figure remaining at the club from those involved in the 2012 drama.
The club itself will be looking to have a changing of the guard with Little acknowledging he needs to move on but will not be doing so until he has seen the WADA/ASADA process through, has overseen the football department's internal review in coming weeks and has assisted in the appointment of a new coach.
Little announced that current assistant coach Matthew Egan will be taking over as senior coach for the remainder of the season. Egan has been an assistant at the club for four years.