(PARIS) -- Michael Schumacher, the retired Formula One driver who was critically injured in a skiing accident, is slowly being taken out of coma.
"Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take [a] long time," a family spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.
Schumacher, 44, was skiing with his son in the French Alps on Dec. 29, when he fell and struck a rock, causing severe head trauma. He has been in an artificially-induced coma ever since.
The family spokesperson said Schumacher's family "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 worldwide sympathy," the statement continued.
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