The former mayor made history as America’s first openly gay presidential candidate.

Pete Buttigieg has ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The former mayor made the announcement at an event in South Bend, Indiana, on Sunday night (1 March), where he said “today is a moment of truth… the truth is the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy, if not for our cause.

“We must recognize that at this point in the race the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together. Tonight, I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency. We have a responsibility to concede the effect of remaining in this race any further.

He then called for his fellow Democratic candidates to unite in their fight and beat Donald Trump in the election, saying: “Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values.”

Buttigeig, who made history as the first openly gay major presidential candidate, dropped out the day before Super Tuesday, the biggest voting day in the primary and a key date in the Democratic race when 15 states vote for their candidate.

Although he did will in New Hampshire and Nevada, and won the Iowa caucuses, Buttigieg failed to secure non-white voters and suffered a major loss in South Carolina, signalling he would have struggled in diverse states on Tuesday.

Before Buttigeig ended his presidential race, his partner Chasten reflected on how the historic campaign came to fruition.

“About a year and a half ago, my husband came home from work and told me, well, he asked me, ‘What do you think about running for president?’ And I laughed. Not at him but at life,” he told a group of supporters in South Bend.

“After falling in love with Pete, Pete got me to believe in myself again. And I told Pete to run because I knew there were other kids sitting out there in this country who needed to believe in themselves too.”

Chasten said it has been an “honour and a privilege” to share his husband with the rest of the world and explained that the campaign was “built on an idea of hope, an idea of inclusion” and was about “bringing people together”.

He added: “We went out there with that one shot and we gave it everything we had because it is time for every single person in this country to look to the White House and know that that institution stands for them, that they belong in this country.”

On Sunday night, Buttigeig spoke with Democratic candidate Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama, where the former asked for his support in the race. He told Biden that he would consider the request.

Related: 9-year-old asks Pete Buttigieg to help him come out as gay to the world.