Rome: Italy`s former foreign minister Emma Bonino revealed Thursday she has lung cancer, which is likely to take her out of the running for the post of Italian president.
The 66-year old, a militant feminist and former member of Italy`s radical party who commands respect across the political sphere, said doctors had found a tumour during a routine control and she would have to reduce her workload.
Bonino had been one of the names favoured to take over from President Giorgio Napolitano, who is expected to resign over the next few days.
While the post of president in Italy is largely ceremonial, it takes on vital importance during times of political crisis when the president can help steer the formation of a new government.
Other possible candidates include former prime ministers Romano Prodi and Giuliano Amato, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti.
Bonino, a former European commissioner for humanitarian aid, said she would have to undergo chemotherapy for "at least six months".