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Schumacher being brought slowly out of medically induced coma

Jan 30, 2014, 8:09 AM EDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Schumacher of Germany addresses a news conference ahead of the weekend's Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa Francorchamps Reuters

Sabine Kehm, the press officer for Michael Schumacher, has confirmed that doctors are now slowly bringing the seven-time Formula One World Champion out of his medically induced coma.

Schumacher has been in a Grenoble, France hospital since sustaining a major head injury in a skiing accident on Dec. 29 in the French ski resort of Meribel. He has had two operations, the most recent involving the removal of a prominent hematoma.

Today’s statement reads:

“The family of Michael Schumacher is again requesting to respect its privacy and the medical secret, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work. At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the world-wide sympathy.

“Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time. For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated. Please note that no further updates will be given.”

It marks the first official medical update on Schumacher since he was confirmed to be in a “stable” condition earlier this month.

Schumacher remains in the thoughts of Formula One fans around the world, and the teams currently testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain have also shown their support for the stricken champion – including the teams he drove for, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Shortly after today’s confirmation from Kehm, Mercedes tweeted: “We are all closely following the latest news from Grenoble. Our thoughts are with the Schumacher family. #KeepFightingMichael.”

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