Former motor racing world champion Michael Schumacher is in a coma following a skiing accident in France.
The 44-year-old German suffered a “serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation,” according to a hospital in the French city of Grenoble.
Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he reportedly hit his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps.
He was airlifted off the mountain following the accident in the resort of Meribel, in the popular Three Valleys area.
The sports star was skiing with his 14-year-old son and some friends when the accident occurred.
Schumacher’s agent, Sabine Kehm, said: ”Michael fell on his head during a private ski trip in the French Alps.
“He was hospitalised and is receiving medical care. We ask for your understanding that we cannot give a running commentary on his state of health.
“He was wearing a helmet and was not alone.”
Schumacher first retired from Formula One in 2006 as a seven-times world champion. He owns a chalet in the Meribel resort and is a keen skier.
He has been hurt seriously once before, in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 when he suffered neck and spine injuries.
He recovered sufficiently from those injuries to make a comeback to Formula One in 2010.
But he made a disappointing return to the sport, managing only one podium finish during his three years with Mercedes.
The German driver retired from Formula One for a second time in December 2012.