(CNN)Here's a look at the life of Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Birth date: October 27, 1945
Birth place: Garanhuns, Pernambuco, Brazil
Father: Aristedes Inácio da Silva, agriculture worker
Mother: Eurîdice Ferreira de Mello, seamstress
Marriage(s): Marisa Letîcia Lula da Silva (1974-present); Maria de Lourdes Lula da Silva (May 24, 1969-June 7, 1971, her death)
Children: with Marisa Letîcia Lula da Silva: sons: Luis Claudio (1985), Sandro (1979), Fabio (1975), Marcos (1970, from her first marriage and adopted by da Silva); with Miriam Cordeiro: daughter, Lurian (1974)
He goes by the nickname Lula, which he formally added to his name in 1982.
Da Silva's father was against education and believed supporting the family was more important, so da Silva didn't learn to read until age 10 and began working full-time at 12.
He left school completely after the fifth grade to work full-time.
Has nine fingers, having lost the little finger on his left hand in a work accident.
First wife, Maria, died of hepatitis in her eighth month of pregnancy along with the child.
Unhappy with the lack political representation of the working class in Brazil, he decided to get involved in politics.
Da Silva is a founding member of Brazil's only socialist political party, Partido dos Trabalhadores, The Workers' Party.
Regularly gives speeches about his belief that global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization favor rich nations and must be revamped to address the needs of developing nations, where most of the world's population lives.
Longtime friend of Fidel Castro; visited him in September 2003. Castro backed all of his presidential runs.
1966 - Becomes a metalworker and is active in the metalworkers union.
1975 - Elected president of the metalworkers union.
March 10, 1980 - Helps found the Partido dos Trabalhadores, the Workers' Party.
April 19-May 19, 1980 - As one of the leaders of a metalworkers union strike, is arrested after police confront workers and held for 31 days.
November 1982 - Comes in fourth in the gubernatorial race for the state of Sao Paolo.
1983 - Helps found the Central Única dos Trabalhadores, a national trade union confederation.
1986 - Elected to the Brazilian congress.
1989, 1994, and 1998 - Is the Workers' Party candidate for president; he comes in second each time.
October 27, 2002 - Is elected president in a runoff election with 61.3% of the vote.
January 1, 2003 - Inaugurated as president of Brazil.
October 29, 2006 - Wins a second four-year term in office with 61% of the vote.
September 30, 2008 - Reacts to the downturn in global and U.S. markets: "We can't be turned into victims of the casino erected by the American economy."
October 2009 - Is credited with helping Rio de Janeiro to win the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first Olympics to be held in South America.
January 1, 2010 - A film dramatization of da Silva's life, called "Lula, Son of Brazil," opens in Brazil.
April 2010 - Is voted number one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2010.
January 1, 2011 - Leaves office with a 90% approval rating.
October 29, 2011 - Is diagnosed with throat cancer and will undergo chemotherapy to treat a malignant tumor in his larynx.
February 17, 2012 - Da Silva's cancer is in complete remission.