3 Jan 2014

'Silent' vigil on Schumacher's birthday

7:07 pm on 3 January 2014

Fans of Michael Schumacher will hold a "silent" vigil for the injured Formula 1 driver to mark his 45th birthday on Friday.

Michael Schumacher won five world titles driving for Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher won five world titles driving for Ferrari. Photo: AFP

The most successful F1 racer in history is in a medically induced coma after a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday morning. He remains in a stable but critical condition at a Grenoble hospital, his manager has said.

The German had been skiing off-piste when he fell and hit his head. His helmet cracked on impact after hitting a rock, the BBC reports.

Doctors confirmed on Tuesday that Schumacher had shown signs of improvement, but was still "not out of danger" and that he had undergone two operations to relieve pressure on his brain.

Ferrari, Schumacher's former driving team, said buses had been organised to transport the Italian and French fans to Grenoble for the tribute. Schumacher's family earlier thanked fans for their "great support" and described him as a "fighter".

The family has been at his bedside since his accident and Friday is likely to be an especially difficult day. It is clear from their statement on Thursday that they are drawing some comfort from the words of sympathy expressed by fans around the world.

Doctors have ruled out giving a prognosis for Schumacher's condition in the coming days and months, but it is medically possible for someone to spend several weeks in an induced coma and fully recover.