Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Sunday afternoon that she would quit as head of the party this week, amid furor over leaked emails that appeared to show bias against Bernie Sanders during his primary challenge to Hillary Clinton.

"I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America's future," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.  "I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory."

Wasserman Schultz, a member of the U.S. House from Florida, had faced growing pressure to step aside. The contretemps threatened turmoil on the eve of the party convention in Philadelphia, designed to show unity.

Earlier, Wasserman Schultz was removed as permanent chair of the convention, to be replaced by U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D.,Ohio).

"There's simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie," Clinton added, "which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign's 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats."

On Sunday, Sanders called for Wasserman Schultz to resign.

"I told you long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton," Sanders told ABC News' This Week. "So what I suggested to be true six months ago turned out to be true."

In a statement following the chair's resignation, Sanders said Wasserman Schultz made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party.

"While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people," Sanders said. "The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race."

Wasserman Schultz said her resignation would take effect after the convention. Party officials said she would gavel the gathering to order Monday and close it on Thursday, but would have no major speaking role - unlike Republican chairman Rience Preibus at that party's convention last week.

In a statement, Fudge thanked Hillary Clinton for recommending her for the position, and said she expects "a great convention and our ongoing efforts as we work together for a strong party and a successful election."

A trove of 20,000 emails of top DNC officials was released Friday by Wikileaks backed up the fears of Sanders' campaign. They showed DNC staffers suggesting attacking Sanders on his religious beliefs, and planning to scuttle a previously agreed to debate before the June 3 California primary because that was what Clinton's team wanted.

While he identifies as Jewish, Sanders is not overtly religious. One email suggested using the Vermont senator's beliefs to hurt him with voters in parts of the county.

"It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief," Brad Marshall, chief financial officer of the national committee wrote an email on May 5, 2016. "Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."

Amy Dacey, chief executive officer of the DNC, later responded "AMEN," according to the leaked emails.