Longtime El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis resigned following accusations that he made prejudicial comments about the East County city's large Chaldean community. He was blistered by attacks during the public comment time at Tuesday's El Cajon City Council meeting as Chaldean leaders and others criticized him for his remarks.

In his letter to the U-T San Diego, Lewis, who has been mayor since 1998, says he resigned for "health reason".pointing to a minor stroke in 2010, cancer and a dislocated shoulder. It was unclear when the resignation would take effect.

Another letter from the mayor was posted on El Cajon's website earlier Thursday. In it, Lewis made no mention of resigning but he did apologize to anyone he offended and said he did not intend his remarks to be insensitive.

He said he had intended to step down when his current mayoral term ended in 2014. His statement did not indicate when his resignation would become effective.

In an interview with Progressive magazine earlier this year, Lewis was quoted as saying some Chaldean schoolchildren who receive free lunches are "being picked up by Mercedes Benzes" and that once they come here, "it doesn't take them too long to learn where all the freebies are at."

Lewis issued a written apology after dozens of El Cajon residents showed up to a City Council meeting Tuesday night demanding that he apologize.

Read Lewis' apology: http://bit.ly/1aeEsmI

Earlier in the week, Lewis was still defending his actions.

"I'm sorry if they're offended, but we have over 100,000 people so you're bound, no matter what you do, you say red is red, somebody's bound to be offended," Lewis said.