Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has been transferred from a French hospital to a facility in Switzerland after emerging from a coma following his devastating ski accident in December.
In a surprise announcement, the retired German racing star’s spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said he had left hospital in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, where he had been treated since December 29 when he slammed his head on a rock while skiing with his son and friends.
The 45-year-old was transferred to a hospital in the Swiss city of Lausanne where he will be undergoing further treatment, hospital spokesman Darcy Christen told AFP.
Stressing the hospital’s commitment to privacy, Christen said Schumacher’s family was with him “in a space created especially to ensure their intimacy and to ensure the best possible care”.
The Lausanne hospital has renowned neurology experts and Schumacher, his wife Corinna and two children live nearby in the small town of Gland.
In a statement, the seven-time world champion’s spokeswoman Kehm said his family wanted to “thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.”
“For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye,” she said.
She gave no further details about Schumacher’s condition, which has been kept under a tight lid since his accident.
The racing star underwent two operations to remove life-threatening blood clots after the accident, before being plunged into a medically induced coma.
News of his transfer to Lausanne was welcomed by Schumacher’s close friend Lukas Podolski, the German footballer who is currently in Brazil for the World Cup.
“What a great news. Get well soon Schumi. I’m so glad and happy when I just heard it!!” he tweeted.
Known as the Red Baron in reference to an ace World War I German fighter pilot, Schumacher has won an unprecedented 91 races, and seven world titles including five in a row with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.