U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday in a conference call with staff, his campaign said in a statement.
"The path toward victory is virtually impossible," Sanders said in a livestreamed speech to supporters from his hometown of Burlington, Vermont.
"I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful. And so today, I am announcing the suspension of my campaign."
The U.S. senator from Vermont, a democratic socialist whose progressive agenda pulled the party sharply to the left, shot to an early lead in the Democratic race but faded quickly after losing South Carolina in late February as moderate Democrats consolidated their support behind Biden's campaign.
Biden praised Sanders after his departure and promised his ideas would be incorporated into his White House run. He reached out to Sanders' supporters.
"I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country," Biden said. "I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You're needed."
The departure of Sanders, the last remaining rival to Biden, sets up a battle between the 77-year-old former vice president and Trump, 73, who is seeking a second four-year term in office.
Sanders' decision to step aside came with the country in the grip of a coronavirus outbreak that upended the nominating elections schedule, with some primaries postponed and others up in the air.
Sanders, who also mounted an unexpectedly strong challenge in 2016 to eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, had been under pressure to halt his campaign after Biden won resounding victories in primary contests on March 17 in Florida, Arizona and Illinois.