SINGAPORE: Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei has been diagnosed with early stage nose cancer, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) confirmed in a statement on Saturday (Sep 22).
The three-time Olympic silver medallist is currently in Taiwan seeking treatment, BAM President Norza Zakaria said in the statement.
"Chong Wei is currently in Taiwan seeking treatment and I am pleased to inform you that he is responding well to his treatment and is currently resting and recuperating amongst family and close friends," he said.
"On behalf of Chong Wei, I would like to thank all Malaysians for your prayers and concern. Your support has been his source of strength and courage."
Urging the public to respect the badminton player's privacy as well as that of his family, the BAM president said the association would offer "any support we can to our legend".
The news comes after it was announced earlier this year that the sportsman had pulled out of two major tournaments due to poor health.
Lee had been advised by his doctor to take a rest and undergo treatment after suffering a respiratory-related disorder, BAM said in July this year.
Missing the World Championships in July and August was a particular blow for the former world number one as the tournament's top honour is one of the major awards missing from his trophy cabinet.
Lee's unsuccessful attempts to capture Malaysia's first ever Olympic gold medal at three consecutive editions of the Games were followed avidly back home, as was his long-running rivalry with Chinese superstar Lin Dan.
His last shot at Olympic gold at Rio 2016 ended in failure when the Malaysian lost out to China's Chen Long in a nail-biting final.
Lee, currently ranked number four in the world, had said Rio would be his last Olympics.
Lee had fought his way back to the top of the rankings after returning from a doping ban in 2015.
He tested positive for a forbidden anti-inflammatory drug at the 2014 world championships and many feared it would end his career, but he bounced back strongly.