Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is in critical condition after undergoing double brain surgery following a skiing accident in the French Alps, officials have said.
Authorities said that the seven-time world champion had been flown to hospital in a coma after he fell and hit his head on a rock at about 11am local time (10.00GMT) on Sunday.
The 44-year-old German was “suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation”, according to hospital officials in the southeast French city.
“He remains in a critical condition.”
The French Mountain Gendarmerie said that Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he fell at the Meribel resort.
He was admitted to hospital at the nearby town of Moutiers, before being taken to hospital in Grenoble, the Gendarmerie said.
A specialist neurosurgeon from Paris was rushed in to oversee his treatment.
Flown by helicopter
Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, director of the resort, said that Schumacher banged his head on a rock while skiing off-piste near the Dent de Burgin (Tooth of Burgin) chairlift.
The Meribel resort said two medical officers attended Schumacher at the scene of the accident, between the slopes of Georges Mauduit and la Biche, and he was flown by helicopter to hospital within 10 minutes.
“No one else was involved in the fall,” Gernigon-Lecomte said.
Schumacher was hurt seriously once before, in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain when he suffered neck and spine injuries.
He recovered sufficiently from those injuries to make a comeback in F1.
Schumacher retired from Formula One last year after a three-year comeback with Mercedes, following his earlier retirement from Ferrari.