KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday (Jun 14) thanked badminton ace Lee Chong Wei for bringing glory to the country, and said he was saddened by the Olympic medallist's decision to retire.
"I hope he can rest and recover from his illness," said Dr Mahathir, in a video posted on social media.
READ: From high rank to doping low - Lee Chong Wei's rollercoaster badminton career
The prime minister thanked Lee for representing Malaysia and becoming a champion in several international tournaments, such as the Commonwealth Games and the All England tournament.
"We will feel the loss of a champion," Dr Mahathir added.
The prime minister's wife Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali also extended her well-wishes to the 36-year-old sportsman.
"You don't have the opportunity to win the Olympic gold, never mind Chong Wei ... For me, health is very, very important," she said in a personal message to the shuttler.
"You have chosen the right decision. Your family is there, your wife waits for you, and your two sons."
"YOU HAVE DONE THE BEST YOU COULD"
In the video, she said Lee should not have any regrets about his career.
"You have been teaching them (Lee's sons) how to play badminton. God willing, you will see your boys playing badminton and getting the Olympic gold for you when they have the chance to do so," Dr Siti Hasmah added.
"I wish you all the best, and don't regret ... you have done the best you could for the country, for yourself, for your family, and for all of us."
The former world number one announced his retirement on Thursday after 19 years in the sport.
Among his greatest achievements was winning three Olympic silver medals in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
He also won the Malaysian Open a record 12 times, the last being in 2018 before he was diagnosed with nose cancer.