KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Badminton icon Lee Chong Wei, who is battling nose cancer, says he is determined to make a return to the court.
While many sportsmen would have given up hope of making a comeback under such circumstances, the 35-year-old wants to play competitively again.
"Wait for me. I'll return to the court. Don't forget me yet, I'm still here," he said in an encouraging voice message from Taiwan, where he is seeking medical treatment.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist and 12-time Malaysian Open champion is expected to come home to Malaysia at the end of the month.
"I'll return soon. Thank you for all the concern and care shown to me during my two-month recovery.
"I'll... say more when I come back."
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) confirmed Lee's ailment in a statement on Saturday (Sept 22).
This followed a false posting on social media, which went viral last Friday, claiming that Lee was suffering from third-stage nose cancer.
BAM president Norza Zakaria asked for Lee to be given space and peace of mind to recover.
Norza, who has been aware of Lee's condition from the beginning, said in a statement: "In response to recent reports concerning Chong Wei, BAM confirms that the player has been diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer.
"Chong Wei is now in Taiwan seeking treatment, and I'm pleased to inform you that he is responding well to treatment and is resting and recuperating among family and close friends.
"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.
"We urge everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family. BAM is in constant contact with Chong Wei and we will offer any support we can to our legend."
Two months ago, BAM announced that Lee had taken a break from badminton after being diagnosed with a respiratory-related disorder.
He withdrew from two major competitions - the World Championships in Nanjing, China, in August and the Asian Games in Indonesia last month.