'In the very best of hands': Michael Schumacher's family issue rare update on F1 legend
Michael Schumacher's family have issued a rare statement updating fans on the condition of the seven-time Formula 1 world champion, saying he is "in the very best of hands."
Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 with a clean bill of health but suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in late 2013.
Since that time his family has worked hard to keep the former F1 superstar out of the headlines and away from the press as he deals with his injuries.
He is currently being looked after at his Switzerland home and, ahead of the German's 50th birthday, his family has taken the rare step of issuing a statement on the Ferrari legend's condition.
"You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him," the statement read.
"Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy."
Schumacher won back-to-back world drivers' titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before switching to Ferrari and claiming five titles in a row between 2000 and 2004. His 91 Grand Prix wins and seven titles remain a Formula 1 record.
And, in addition to issuing a tentative update on Schumacher's health, his family also announced that they were commemorating his 50th birthday on Thursday by launching an official Michael Schumacher app, while the Keep Fighting Foundation has created a special virtual museum to celebrate his stellar career.
"We are very happy to celebrate Michael's 50th birthday tomorrow together with you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts that we can do this together," the statement continued.
"As a gift to him, you and us, Keep Fighting Foundation has created a virtual museum. The Official Michael Schumacher App will be released tomorrow [Thursday], so that we can review all together Michael's successes.
"The app is another milestone in our effort to do justice to him and you, his fans, by celebrating his accomplishments. We wish you a lot of fun with it.
"Michael can be proud of what he has achieved, and so are we! That's why we remember his successes with the Michael Schumacher Private Collection exhibition in Cologne, by publishing memories in social media and by continuing his charitable work through the Keep Fighting Foundation.
"We want to remember and celebrate his victories, his recordsand his jubilation."
While information regarding Schumacher's condition is scarce, one man who has supported the family in their efforts to keep Schumacher out of the headlines is former team boss Ross Brawn, who headed Schumacher's world championship successes at both Benetton and Ferrari.
Brawn has spent time visiting with Schumacher and his family and says he is in full support of their approach.
"I am constantly in touch with Corinna, and I totally agree with their decision," Brawn told the Press Association.
"Michael has always been a very private person and that’s been a guiding principle in his career, his life and his family always agreed with that choice.
"It’s completely understandable that Corinna has wanted to maintain the same approach, even after the tragic event, and it’s a decision we must all respect.
"I’m sure the millions of people who are still Michael fans will understand it, too."