Michael Schumacher's manager says doctors have started the process of bringing the former Formula One champion out of the coma he has been in since a skiing accident a month ago.
However, his manager Sabine Kehm said in a statement that the process 'may take long time'.
The 45-year-old Schumacher suffered serious head injuries when he fell and hit the right side of his helmet on a rock in the French resort of Meribel on December 29.
The seven-time F1 champion has been in an induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital since then, although his condition stabilized following surgery after initially being described as critical.
And now doctors are slowly trying to wake him up.
"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take a long time,'' Kehm said.
One reason for reducing the sedation is to see if the swelling has gone down in the patient's brain and to assess what level of functions has been retained.
Kehm said she was only providing an update now on Schumacher's condition to clarify media leaks, and that no further details would be provided. French newspaper l'Equipe first reported on Wednesday that doctors had started waking Schumacher.
Schumacher was being kept artificially sedated and his body temperature was lowered to between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius (93.2 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit), to reduce swelling in the brain, reduce its energy consumption and allow it to rest.