Formula One icon Michael Schumacher turned 50 today on January 3, 2019, and the family plans to celebrate the seven time world champion's overwhelming career on his birthday. Michael has been under recovery ever since the ill-fated skiing accident in France, in 2013, which left him with a brain injury. Five years on, his condition remains a closely guarded secret and only known to his family and close friends. However, on Michael's 50th birthday, the family issued a rare statement about the celebrations for the day, and also spoke for the first time in years about the driver's condition.
"We are pleased and wholeheartedly thank you for celebrating Michael's 50th birthday with him and us. You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands. We are doing everything humanly possible to help him. Please understand if we are following Michael's wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy," the family said in a statement.
Celebrating his 50th birthday, the family will release the Michael Schumacher mobile app that will act as a virtual museum, celebrating all of the driver's accomplishments.
Starting his F1 career almost back in 1991, Michael drove for teams including Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes, but was at the Italian team that the German found most success. Schumacher first retired from F1 in 2006 while at Scuderia Ferrari, and made a grand comeback to the sport in 2010 with Mercedes. After serving three seasons with the team, the driver announced his retirement for the second time at the end of the 2012 seasons.
Schumacher hasn't been seen in the public ever since his accident in December 2013. While there have been a lot of speculations around the legend's health, a recent report suggested that Michael was shifted to a clinic in Dallas, Texas from his home in Switzerland, which specialises in treating brain injuries. The Schumacher family though has not confirmed or denied this development.
Ferrari too issued a statement for one of its most iconic drivers. The Italian team wrote, "Our champ turns 50 today. We're all with you Michael #KeepFighting."
New Formula 1 Managing Director Ross Brawn, who was also Schumacher's team principal at Ferrari and a close friend of the family said, "I am constantly in touch with Corinna [Schumacher's wife] and I totally agree with their decision. Michael has always been a very private person and that's been a guiding principle in his career, his life. His family always agreed with that choice."