Lee Chong Wei
Top seed Lee was rarely tested in the final on Sunday Reuters

Malaysia's legendary badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei has been diagnosed with nose cancer, which is at its early stage, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has confirmed.

The three-time Olympic silver medalist had not played on the tour since reaching the semi-final of Indonesia Open in July. He had pulled out of the World Championships and was not part of Malaysia's squad at Asian Games in Jakarta.

The BAM had revealed that Chong Wei, 35, had to pull out of the world championships due to a respiratory-related disorder in July.

"In response to recent reports concerning Datuk Lee Chong Wei, BAM confirms that the player has been diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer," BAM statement read.

"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.

"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," the statement added.

BAM secretary Ng Chin Chai met Chong Wei in Taiwan

Only recently, BAM secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai had said Chong Wei's treatment for what was reported as a respiratory disorder would end next week.

Chin Chai also expressed confidence that the Penang-born shuttler would be back to training in November if the doctors give green signal over his recovery, according to The Star Online.

"The doctor will assess his condition again and if he gets the greenlight, he is expected to start his workout (in November). He was in a good mood over the two days I saw him - that's positive," Chin Chai had said after visiting Chong Wei in Taiwan.

Notably, Chong Wei had been in good form in the lead up to the world championships where he was set to resume his search for the elusive gold medal. He was expected to face France's Brice Leverdez, who had beaten him in the first round at last year's world meet, before his withdrawal was confirmed.