I'm very sorry to hear your bad news. I hope that everything works out for you.
You will be missed on the site. I hope that your images will remain to provide inspiration for those less skilled than you.
Maybe you didn't realise it, but just a quick look at Howard's intro page would have told you; he is a long-established member here, with many friends. All he was doing was providing an explanation to his friends for his departure, which, I expect, would have been requested had he not given one in advance. Give the guy a break!