David Franklin. Courtesy Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art confirmed Wednesday that an extramarital affair with a former staffer who committed suicide led to director David Franklin's abrupt resignation. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported the story.

Cleveland lawyer R. Steven Kestner, chairman of the museum's board, said that the museum learned this month of a police report indicating that Franklin, 52, found former museum employee Christina Melinda Gaston, 34, dead in her apartment shortly after midnight on Apr. 29 and called the police. Kestner confirmed in a statement to the Plain Dealer that Franklin and Gaston had been involved in a "dating relationship" during and after her time at the museum.

Franklin will work with the museum to ensure a smooth transition to a new director, Kestner said.

The museum, which opened in 1916, has an encyclopedic collection comprising almost 45,000 objects.