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Schumacher still critical but stable ahead of his 45th birthday

Racing legend Michael Schumacher remains in a critical but stable condition in a French hospital ahead of his 45th birthday. The former F1 champion driver has been in a coma since suffering a head injury while skiing.

Until Thursday, Michael Schumacher's long-time manager, Sabine Kehm had been giving daily press updates on his condition from the hospital in Grenoble where he is being treated since being rushed there after his accident at the Meribel ski resort on Sunday.

On Thursday, though, Kehm sent a text message to reporters stating that "we will make no statements if there is nothing new" to report.

Thus, it is believed that the former Formula One driver's condition remains the same as it was when she issued her

previous statement.

"Michael has been carefully supervised and his condition at the moment is stable, and has been stable through the night," Kehm told reporters on Wednesday morning. Like the doctors treating Schumacher, Kehm also declined to comment on his chances of recovery.

"Michael is being monitored around the clock, the doctors are taking very good care of him," she said.

Family, friends at his bedside

Schumacher's wife Corinna as well as their two children were at his bedside again on Thursday, one day before the native of Kerpen, near the western German city of Cologne, was to turn 45.

On Wednesday, the family posted a statement of thanks for the messages of support sent not just by famous personalities, but also ordinary fans.

Also at his bedside were close friends and associates, including Jean Todt, his former boss at the Ferrari team where he spent the majority of his career and celebrated most of his successes.

Ross Brawn, Schumacher's boss at his last team, Mercedes-AMG, from which he retired from racing one year ago, arrived in Grenoble on Sunday night. Neither has spoken to the press.

Ferrari also announced plans to hold a "silent gathering" in front of the Grenoble hospital to mark Schumacher's birthday on Friday.

Schumacher has been in a coma since doctors conducted two operations to remove

bleeding and relieve pressure on his brain

which developed as a result of the

accident, in which he fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste on Sunday.

He was wearing a helmet, but a source close to the investigation into the cause of the accident said the impact was so great that it caused the helmet to split into two.

The German driver was Formula One's most successful of all time, having won 91 Grand Prix races and seven drivers' championships over a career that spanned most of two decades.

pfd/se (AFP, SID, dpa)

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