By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been diagnosed with throat cancer, São Paulo’s leading Sírio-Libanês Hospital said on Saturday, and will undergo chemotherapy as part of his treatment.

Ex-President Lula was seen with the incumbent president, Dilma Rousseff, last week at the inauguration of the Rio Negro bridge, Brazil News
Lula was seen with President Rousseff last week at the inauguration of the Rio Negro bridge, photo by Roberto Stuckert Filho/Presidência da República.

Initial complaints of a sore throat and hoarser-than-normal voice are said to have led doctors to the tumor, which is on the former president’s larynx and reported to be approximately 2-3cm in size.

Clinicians at the hospital said he is “doing great” and will be an outpatient, with treatment set to start on Monday.

Words of support have been coming in from various leaders and politicians, including from incumbent president Dilma Rousseff who wished her predecessor and political mentor a “speedy recovery”:

“As your friend, partner, sister and admirer, I will give you the support and friendship you need to overcome this obstacle,” she said, noting that she herself had suffered from the same disease.

She called on Brazilians to send “positive energy to the former president at this time of hardship”.

Lula was Brazil’s widely popular president from 2003 to 2010 and recently celebrated his 66th birthday.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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