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Schumi still critical, but stable

Paris: Michael Schumacher’s condition remains critical but stable on Saturday, the German’s agent said nearly a week after the seven-time Formula One champion suffered brain injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps resort of Meribel.

“Michael’s condition remains critical but stable. We would like to clearly stress that any information regarding Michael’s health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as invalid and pure speculation,” Schumacher’s agent, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement.

Kehm made the comments after former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff, Schumacher’s friend, told a television channel that he had been told by surgeon and friend Gerard Saillant, who is at the Grenoble hospital, that the German’s life was “out of danger”.

Earlier, Streiff said: “I’m not a doctor, I’m repeating what Saillant told me. He said it is a serious condition but his life is not in danger anymore now, thankfully.”

The hospital has not released any detail to confirm the claims however.

Meanwhile, investigators are examining a camera that was attached to Schumacher’s ski helmet and investigators are questioning his son as fans held a hospital vigil for his 45th birthday.

His family handed the ‘Go-Pro’ camera to police, who questioned his son, Mick, 14, and a friend of the teenager. Both boys were with Schumacher when he fell on Sunday, sustaining severe head injuries, a source close to the investigation into his accident said.

Kehm confirmed that Schumacher’s “helmet camera was voluntarily given to the investigating authorities by the family”.

Schumacher’s family posted a statement on their website thanking fans for gathering outside the French hospital where he lay in a coma, saying the show of support had moved them to tears.

Busloads of supporters came from Italy and France, some holding Ferrari flags, others bearing gifts and cards which they handed to his manager. One group sang Happy Birthday while a woman cried and another group quietly unfurled a Ferrari banner.

“Schumi gave us so much,” said Stefano Pini, 47, an Italian accountant who got up at three in the morning to catch a bus from Milan. “The least we could do is to come here and support him and his family,” said Pini, who like many in the crowd wore a red Ferrari cap.

Investigators are hoping that the camera will provide details about the exact circumstances of the accident that has left the racing legend in a medically induced coma after suffering severe head injuries.

Two operations on his brain have reduced swelling and stabilised his condition but he is not out of danger.

His wife, Corinna, has been at his bedside for much of the past few days and nights, along with his son, his daughter Gina-Maria, brother Ralf and father Rold.

Kehm has denied reports that he was skiing at a high speed. Kehm said he had only ventured into an unmarked area between two pistes after stopping to help a friend’s daughter who had fallen. He was catapulted into the air when he hit a rock concealed by recently fallen snow. His head struck another rock and his helmet broke in two, she said.

The accident happened only about 300 yards from the chalet Schumacher owns at the Meribel resort in the French Alps.

Messages of support appeared on Twitter from Schumacher’s former teammates. Rubens Barrichello, wrote:“Keep it up, man... I know ur (sic) fighting.” (Agencies)