Schumacher no longer in a coma
FORMER Formula One star Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma, and has left hospital after the skiing accident that almost killed him.
The German had been in hospital in France since the end of last year.
"Michael has left the CHU Grenoble (hospital) to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma anymore," said a statement from spokeswoman Sabina Kehm.
The statement did not say where he was being transferred to.
It has been 170 days since Schumacher was injured following his fall off piste in the French Alpine resort of Meribel.
Schumacher initially required surgery to remove a haematoma from his brain, but despite its success, the 45-year-old was forced to remain in a coma under sedation.
Official reports after the initial frenzy surrounding Schumacher's status have been few and far between, prompting a number of scare stories regarding his future.
Prior to today the last update on Schumacher's condition had been in early April, albeit was a positive one as it stated he was showing of "moments of conciousness".
The lapsed time in between without any further statement, however, had again resulted in doubts as to whether Schumacher would ever make a complete recovery.
Those doubts will continue to remain for besides the fact Schumacher is now out of a coma and left the hospital, no other information has been provided with regards to his health.
Schumacher's family, however, have at least again offered their sincere gratitude to all those who have played a part in the process over the past five and a half months.
The statement added: "His family would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble, as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.
"The family also wishes to thank all the people who have sent Michael all the many good wishes. We are sure it helped him.
"For the future we ask for understanding his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye."
Lewis Hamilton was delighted with the update on Schumacher as he said: "It's incredible news. Amazing.
"Everywhere I go people ask about him - the States, Canada. I could be at a petrol station in the States and people would ask about him.
"I've always kept him in my thoughts and prayers, and it's really positive to hear there is some progress.
"I've been trying to keep an ear out for what is going on, but not really hearing much.
"So to hear he is now really in that wake-up phase is really, really encouraging.
"It's also exciting, that first step on that new ladder for him."