Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) has canceled his public schedule in coming days to spend time in New York with his 89-year-old father who is in poor health, his office said Tuesday.

The announcement was made at the outset of a legislative hearing on a package of bills seeking to provide additional protections for victims of domestic violence. Brown was scheduled to testify to a Senate Committee about the bills, which are sponsored by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and are a top priority this session for Brown.

Brown, a leading candidate for governor this year, is also expected to miss a forum scheduled to be hosted Thursday night by the Democratic club at Leisure World, a large retirement community in Silver Spring. All three leading Democrats were scheduled to appear on stage together.

“Lt. Gov. Brown is with his family as his father has transitioned from the hospital to hospice care,” said Brown spokesman Jared Smith. “He will remain there in the coming days. The lieutenant governor and his family appreciate all of the support they’ve received. He remains in regular contact with his staff and leaders in Annapolis.”