Root captained England more times than any other player in history. His departure now leaves a major void which will need to be filled before this summer's busy schedule of Test matches - starting with a clash against New Zealand on June 2.
The Yorkshireman came under heavy scrutiny following the recent Ashes capitulation in Australia. The pressure, and level of criticism, was then further ramped up as England faced a series defeat away in the West Indies.
With the 31-year-old deciding to step down, the focus now turns to finding a successor. On one hand, Ben Stokes looks like the obvious choice however, there are other options on the table for the ECB.
Here, Planet Sport runs through the main contenders.
With 537 Test wickets to his name, there are few active England players as experienced as Stuart Broad. The 35-year-old was dropped - alongside James Anderson - for the tour of West Indies, but following a laboured attacking display, many have called for the bowler to return.
Due to his age, Broad doesn't have a lot of Test cricket left in him. However, his experience could very well take England back onto the right tracks.
Out of all the options, it does seem that Ben Stokes is the natural successor. The England vice-captain has previously led the team in Root's absence and appears to be the favourite when it comes to taking over the captaincy on a full-time basis.
Most importantly, Stokes commands total respect from the players around him and sets the standard in almost every aspect of the game.
Similarly to Broad, Rory Burns has also lost his place in the England team, with the 31-year-old returning to captain Surrey in the County Championship.
While Burns is well regarded in the county game, his questionable record as a Test opener - an average of 30 from 32 Tests - does raise concerns.
In order to become captain, Burns would first need to force himself back into the squad. With that in mind, it's fair to say that he remains an outsider for the role.
While picking Sam Billings would mark a major shift in direction, his selection as captain remains very unlikely.
Billings enjoyed his only Test appearance during the recent Ashes tour, and many consider him more suited to the one-day game.
Nevertheless, the 30-year-old is well thought of and his selection could represent a fresh start for the national side - a much-needed one at that.
It's fair to say that the Hampshire man is another rank outsider for the captaincy.
Vince has played 13 international Test and has averaged just under 25. Many are still waiting for the 31-year-old to blossom in England colours, believing there is still a lot more to come from the batsman.