State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, the liberal Democrat from Northwest Baltimore who missed the second half of the 2016 legislative session as her multiple sclerosis worsened, has resigned after 18 years in the General Assembly.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announced her retirement Wednesday as the legislature began its annual 90-day session. A Senate aide said the retirement letter was delivered just before the session and that Miller's office had no advance notice it was coming.

Gladden's resignation midway through her fourth term representing the 41st District will allow Democratic leaders to ensure that Baltimore will have a full delegation in place by sometime in February. In recent months, Gladden has had little communication with colleagues and has not returned calls or emails.

"She represented a very challenging district in Baltimore city," Miller told reporters after the session. "She brought people of multiple faiths together — it's a huge Jewish constituency in that district, a large African American constituency — and brought them together for the betterment of Baltimore city."

The daughter of educators, a graduate of Duke University and a public defender, Gladden morew at Baltimore Sun