* Lula released from hospital after checkup
* Brazil president fell ill, canceled Davos trip to rest
* Exams show Lula’s condition is normal (Recasts, updates with Lula in Sao Paulo, detail throughout)
By Raymond Colitt and Natuza Nery
BRASILIA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is recovering after a brief hospitalization for high blood pressure but canceled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, authorities said on Thursday.
Lula has arrived in Sao Paulo, where his personal physician said he was doing well but recommended further exams as soon as possible.
Earlier television images had shown the 64-year-old Lula, visibly tired and dressed in a white track suit, saying goodbye to doctors as he left a hospital in the northeastern city of Recife.
His high blood pressure was due to stress, intense traveling, lack of sleep, and a cold, said doctor Cleber Ferreira, who accompanied Lula.
The president will rest at his Sao Paulo residence, and his public schedule was canceled through Sunday.
The episode raises questions about the health of the former union leader for the first time since he took office in January 2003 as president of Latin America’s largest economy.
If the problem persists, it could also impair Lula’s ability to campaign for his chosen candidate, his chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, in Brazil’s presidential election in October. By law, he cannot run for a third consecutive term.
Lula is Brazil’s most popular president in recent history. He has overseen its longest period of economic growth in three decades and had been traveling extensively with Rousseff in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, he had a busy schedule in Recife, visiting public works projects and attending a Holocaust memorial ceremony. He complained of chest pains during the day and had to leave a dinner with Pernambuco state Governor Eduardo Campos early because he was feeling ill.
Doctors had recommended he be checked before the long flight to Switzerland, the president’s office said. His blood pressure was much higher than usual and he was taken to a hospital, where the results of exams were normal, it said.
Other than bursitis in his shoulders, Lula has had no significant ailments.
Lula, who has earned praise for fighting social inequality while pursuing market-friendly policies, was due to receive the Global Statesmanship Award at the Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Central bank chief Henrique Meirelles is to represent Lula at the Forum, Lula aides said.
The former factory worker won investor confidence in 2003 by abandoning decades of left-wing rhetoric in favor of pragmatic economic policies, including a free-floating exchange rate, fiscal discipline and an inflation-targeting regime.
Tax breaks, low-cost credits and an increased minimum wage have helped Brazil emerge from a brief recession in the second quarter of last year.
Neither Rousseff nor the leading presidential hopeful, Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra of the opposition PSDB party, are seen to differ substantially on economic policy from Lula. (Additional reporting by Alice Assuncao and Alberto Alerigi; Writing by Raymond Colitt and Elzio Barreto; Editing by John O‘Callaghan and Philip Barbara)