Engulfed in a growing political scandal, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, a Democrat, took an indefinite leave of absence Monday.

Pugh, 69, is accused of using her connections to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars from sales of her self-published Healthy Holly children's book series.

Pugh was reportedly paid $500,000 by the University of Maryland Medical System for copies of the books as part of a no-bid deal while she served on its board. In all, UMMS purchased 20,000 copies for $5 apiece over the last few years. Pugh has since resigned from the board.

A statement from Pugh’s office said she was suffering from pneumonia and needs time to recover.

“Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has been battling pneumonia for the past few weeks. She has been advised by her physicians that she needs to take time to recover and focus on her health,” the statement reads. “At this time, with the mayor’s health deteriorating, she feels as though she is unable to fulfill her obligations as mayor of Baltimore city. To that end, Mayor Pugh will be taking an indefinite leave of absence to recuperate from this serious illness.”

Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., has asked the state prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation into the allegations against Pugh, while other officials, including State Comptroller Peter Franchot, have called on her to resign.

Baltimore Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told the Baltimore Sun that Pugh stepping aside was the correct response given the circumstances.

“It’s a tsunami here and we’re drowning,” Clarke said. “We need to survive as a city and to thrive.”

Pugh has called the accusations against her a “witch hunt” despite apologizing for the deal and handing back $100,000 in earnings from the book payments.