By Jose Serrano ( | First Posted: Oct 21, 2015 04:59 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) announces that he will not seek the presidency during a statement with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden of the White House October 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. Citing the death of his oldest child, Biden said he is closing the exploration process of mounting a campaign for the presidency. (Photo : Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Standing aside the man many people expected him to replace, Joe Biden announced Wednesday morning he would not pursue a 2016 presidential bid.

"Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination," Biden said at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. "But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent."

Biden ends months-long speculation as to whether he would challenge Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for the Oval Office. Anticipation of a presidential bid only grew with last week's first Democratic primary debate when Clinton and grassroots candidate Bernie Sanders spoke in front of a national audience for the first time since announcing their candidacy.

Debate purveyor CNN ordered a sixth podium in case Biden made a last-second choice to participate.

The vice president, who twice before ran for president, cited the death of his son, Beau Biden, a the primary reason for his decision.

"As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I've said all along it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president, that it might close," he said. "I've concluded that it has closed."

Democrats, Republicans, and undecided voters alike sent well wishes to Biden via Twitter following the announcement. Clinton, who Biden chided for distancing herself from President Obama, was among the first, saying she was "inspired" by his optimism.

Other, like Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Donald Trump, weren't as sympathetic.

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