The German holds the Formula One records for most championship titles (7), most consecutive championship titles (5), most race wins (91) and most podium finishes (154), among several others.
Schumacher will be remembered for his outstanding driving ability, but also for some of the most controversial moments in Formula One history, as he acknowledged that there were regrets and mistakes made in his career.
"There are certainly some of those but it would get too intense to talk about that now," Schumacher told Premiere television.
"You know the song 'My Way'? I'd say that fits the way I feel."
The 37-year-old gave praise to all the supporters that had stuck by him throughout his career.
"What I'll miss is the moments, the good and the bad, that we had in the last 16 years - the support the fans gave me that restored my self-confidence at times where things weren't going so well," Schumacher said.
"The majority of fans supported me all along. That was immensely important for me over such a long sporting career.
"I'd like to say a huge thanks to them all. I know that's not nearly enough to pay that back but I'm afraid I can't do more at the moment."
Motor racing fans, especially Ferrari supporters, showed an outpouring of emotion as grown men wept in Schumacher's hometown of Kerpen, Germany when his chance of winning an eighth Formula One title was ruined by a punctured tyre.
"It's just so sad, sad, sad," said one weeping middle-aged man after Schumacher was forced into the pits on lap nine.
Schumacher fans weep in his
home town of Kerpen, Germany
"Formula One without Schumacher is over," added another man who was also in tears in the town near Cologne.
After Schumacher had fought back to finish in fourth place with a stunning drive, the supporters again found their voice and began to celebrate the great driver's career.
"Now let's party until the liver starts to tremble," said one fan.
Alonso hails Schumacher
Back-to-back world champion Fernando Alonso praised Schumacher for being a great competitor and champion after winning his second title at the Interlagos circuit on Sunday.
"I think it was good to fight with him," the Spaniard said of the seven-time champion.
"I always said that to become champion when Michael was still on the track has maybe more value than when he retired, and I was extremely lucky to win the last two championships he raced in.
"I think all the drivers wish him the best for his new life with his family.
"It has been a pleasure for us to race with him," said Alonso.
Next season Alonso will move from Renault to McLaren, while Kimi Raikkonen will replace Schumacher alongside Felipe Massa at Ferrari.