Cavanagh, who was the only surviving playing link to the last Tyrone team to lift Sam Maguire, made the announcement on Tuesday evening, having made his debut for the county back in 2007.
A double All-Star, Cavanagh (33) played in Tyrone’s last game before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, a league win over Dublin in Omagh.
And last night the Moy club man insisted the time was right to "step back."
Cavanagh’s retirement comes as a blow to Mickey Harte, who has seen his side suffer mixed fortunes over the last few months.
The stalled season has allowed sufficient time for Mattie Donnelly to recover from injury but Cathal McShane won’t see action this year, while Cavanagh’s retirement comes just weeks after it emerged that Conor McKenna has returned home from the AFL.
"2020 has taught us a lot, for me it has confirmed that your health is indeed your wealth and with that it is time for me to step back and pass my Tyrone jersey on to the next in line," Cavanagh said in a statement.
"I and very proud and honoured to have worn the Tyrone jersey for as long as I have and have had some of the best days of my life whilst wearing it. I wish the current and future teams the very best of luck in the season ahead and I have no doubt they will be raising silverware together for many years to come. I will always value the friendships I have made along the way and now I look forward to supporting and encouraging my children if they decide to become involved in GAA sports in the future.
"The biggest thank you has to go to the people of Tyrone and all supporters of Tyrone GAA, your support and encouragement has kept us going through some of the toughest times as a county and for that I am forever grateful."
Elsewhere, the Donegal county board have announced that their senior football final, scheduled for next Sunday, has been postponed after a Kilcar player tested positive for Covid-19.
Kilcar and Naomh Conaill will now meet on Wednesday October 7.