Soon after announcing his retirement during a packed press conference at the Menara KBS today, 13 June, badminton legend Datuk Lee Chong Wei took to his official Facebook page where he poured his heart out, thanking his "family, friends, and fans"
To every one of you, who have been a part of my life, thank you. A real big sincere thank you.
The 36-year-old former world number one then revealed that following his cancer treatment, he didn't want to retire with regrets
"Months ago, all of you knew I had cancer. I fought it. And I thought I fought it well. I thought I could try one more time.
"I am just someone who loves to play badminton. Someone who loves my country.
"I feared of retiring with regrets. I was scared of not delivering that elusive Olympic gold for Malaysia. So when I was cleared of cancer, I took up my racquet and trained once again," LCW wrote on his Facebook post today, 13 June.
He was, however, dealt a major blow
According to LCW, the major blow came when after a few days of light training he went to see his doctor to get a clearance to heighten his training intensity.
"From that scan, the doctor shook his head and said I might face the risk of recurrence if I continue to train. Mew Choo crumbled crying. She feared I might be stubborn and continue to pursue my dream.
"I was at loss. I thought 'How am I supposed to hang up my racket after nearly twenty years of competitive badminton? How about my Olympic dreams?'"
While the shuttler was trying to come to terms with not ever getting to play for his country, spending time with his kids, watching them grow made him realise that he "shouldn't be so selfish"
"At home, I kept myself occupied with my two sons, Kingston and Terrence."
"I bathed them, I fed them, I taught them badminton. I spent time with them. Most importantly, I really watched them grew up.
"Then it struck me to finally make up my mind. I shouldn’t be so selfish. I have played for myself, I have played for my country.
"This time, I want to play the role of a father, for a long long time. I want to see them grow up to be proper men, to get married, to have kids. I want to take care of my wife when she is old too," read LCW's post which is receiving an outpouring of support.
"So Yes, I have made my decision to quit," the former World No. 1 wrote, apologising for not being able to deliver Malaysia's first Olympic gold. He has no regrets though, saying he tried his best.
"I'm sorry that I couldn’t make it to Tokyo this time around. And I’m sorry I didn’t deliver an Olympic gold. But I know I’ve no regrets as I’ve tried my best. My very best.
"I hope my name Lee Chong Wei has inspired you all one way or another, same like the way you guys inspired me. Without my family, my teammates, my coaches, and my supporters, I won’t achieve anything," the 36-year-old wrote on his post.
Lee Chong Wei ended his post by encouraging his successors to not give up the dream and thanking his fellow badminton players
"To fellow Malaysian shuttlers, don’t give up the dream. Please remember there are actually thousands of Malaysians praying for your success. Train harder every day. Always beat yesterday’s training records. Also, sportsman life is short. Don’t end with regrets.
"There is actually a young five years old Ali, Muthu or Ah Meng idolising you, making you their Malaysian superhero. Don’t disappoint them. Play for the flag, play for Negaraku.
"I had no regrets. When I started playing badminton, all I wanted to do is to represent Malaysia. And I believed I did it with pride and honour.
"Well, I’m done. Thank you very much to all of you. Lee Chong Wei signing out," the legendary shuttler wrote on the post that has gone viral with over 51K reactions.
Though Malaysians are no doubt saddened by the announcement, many took to social media to pay tribute to and thank the former World No. 1 for his incomparable contributions to the sport: