After completing his two terms, Lula, left, endorsed Dilma Rousseff, right, as his successor [EPA]

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former Brazilian president, has been diagnosed with a tumour in his larynx and is to undergo chemotherapy in the coming days, the hospital where he is being treated has announced.

Lula, as he is universally known, was being treated at Sao Paulo's Sirio Libanes Hospital, the same hospital where Dilma Rousseff, the current Brazilian president and Lula's successor, was treated for cancer before taking office in January this year.

Lula, 66, is a former union leader who rose from poverty to become Brazil's first working-class president.

He led the country from 2003 to 2010 through a period of robust economic growth that saw millions of citizens lifted out of poverty and joining the middle classes.

The charismatic leader left power with a record 80 per cent approval rating after his two consecutive terms at the helm of government.

Brazil's constitution prohibits presidents from seeking a third consecutive term.

The hospital in Sao Paulo where Lula is being treated specialises in cancer treatment. Hospital officals said on Saturday that Lula was doing well following the diagnosis.

Source: Agencies