According to multiple sources Sunday evening, December 29, seven-time World Champion Formula 1 racer Michael Schumacher lies in critical condition in a French hospital Sunday following a ski accident in the French Alps. Mr. Schumacher's head reportedly hit a rock when he fell on an unmarked slope; he was wearing a protective helmet, say reports.
CNN reports that the champion driver "was skiing off-piste (on unmarked slopes) in the mountains of Meribel resort between Georges Bauduis Piste and La Biche Piste." The accident happened just after 11:00 a.m. local time, according to Meribel Director, Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte.
According to a statement published by Formula 1, Schumacher was taken by helicopter to a local hospital in Moutiers, then later transferred to the University Hospital Center of Grenoble.
According to F1, the hospital said the former racer came to them with "a severe head injury with coma on arrival, which required neurosurgical intervention immediately."
Mr. Schumacher was reportedly on a skiing trip with his family when the accident occurred.
Twitter filled with well wishes for the champion from racers around the motorsport community once news broke Sunday evening that his condition had deteriorated from what was reported earlier in the day.
Current Formula 1 driver for Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes, Jenson Button, wrote, "My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time.. Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this."
Former British racing driver, Martin Brundle, posted, "Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it."
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Brad Keselowski, wrote, "Thinking about him. So sad."
Indy Car multi-champion Dario Franchitti, who himself is recovering from injuries from a racing accident this year in Houston that ended his career, posted Sunday evening, "My thoughts are with Michael Schumacher and his family. If anyone can pull through this though it's him. #positivethinking #fighter."
Michael Schumacher won the Formula 1 World Championship a record-breaking seven times -- in 1994 and 1995 for Benetton; in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 for Ferrari. When Williams racer Ayrton Senna died tragically at Imola in 1994, Schumacher was right behind him in second place. Many observers point to that moment and his first championship that year as the passing of the torch from the Senna era in Formula 1 to the Schumacher era in the sport.
After first retiring at the end of the 2006 season, the champion returned to Formula 1 in 2010 to race for Mercedes; however, he did not do as well and retired again at the end of the 2012 season.
More news on this story will be published on this page when updates become available. However, hospital sources have told media not to expect continuous updates on Mr. Schumacher's health.
12/29/13, 7:55 p.m. ET: American Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti posts to Twitter, "I will be very grateful to hear positive news on Michael Schumacher. I'm as anxious as everyone. I hope my prayers will be heard."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. With a historic racer from upstate New York, she is writing a book about racers and racing.