Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been diagnosed with throat cancer, CNN reports.
The 66-year-old will start chemotherapy in the next few days to treat a tumor in his larynx, the Sirio-Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement, BBC News reports.
Lula, as he is widely known, reportedly gave up smoking after 50 years in March 2010, according to BBC News.
The former president helped shape Brazil into a major world economy during his two terms in office between 2003 and 2010, CNN reports. Presidents are not allowed to run for three consecutive terms.
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According to Reuters:
Speculation has swirled that Lula could run for the presidency again in 2014 if [current Brazilian President Dilma] Rousseff, his political protegee, were to decide not to seek reelection. Lula, who left office with an approval rating of 87 percent, was also expected to play a key role in next year's municipal elections, helping stump for candidates from his left-leaning Workers' Party, known as the PT.
However, Reuters notes, Lula’s cancer diagnoses may change plans for his political future.
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