Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox, enveloped by an apparent criminal investigation, announced Saturday that he has resigned his leadership post.

He fell in a lightning-quick series of events that began Friday with investigators, armed with search warrants in a probe of an undisclosed matter, taking boxes of evidence from his State House office and his East Side home.

“The Rhode Island House of Representatives is an institution that I deeply respect and serving my constituents has been a major part of my life for the past 22 years,” Fox said in a statement. “I will not let yesterday’s events distract my colleagues from addressing the challenges facing Rhode Island.

“Because of the respect I have for all members of the House of Representatives, I am resigning as Speaker. The process of governing must continue and the transition of leadership must be conducted in an orderly manner.

"... That said, I do not intend to seek another term in the House."

Fox spokesman Bill Fischer said the resignation, for all intents and purposes, takes effect immediately.

As the resignation sent shock waves through the political world, Nicholas A. Mattiello, leader of the Democratic House majority, said there will be an election for a new speaker on Tuesday and that he has the votes to win.

Mattiello said he has already asked Rep. John DeSimone, D-Providence, who in the past had his own ambition to become speaker, to be majority leader in his place should he win the top spot.