Archbishop who visited Michael Schumacher says F1 champion "senses that loving people are around him"

According to Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Schumacher's face has 'become a little fuller' but his appearance has remained unchanged otherwise


                            Archbishop who visited Michael Schumacher says F1 champion "senses that loving people are around him"

A German Archbishop has revealed that seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher "senses that loving people are around him" as he recovers from a horrifying skiing accident five years ago.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein spoke of the emotional visit he made to the champion's home in summer 2016. According to the 62-year-old Catholic leader, Schumacher's face has "become a little fuller" but his appearance has remained unchanged otherwise.

The Archbishop told Bild: "I sat opposite him, took hold of both hands and looked at him. He senses that loving people are around him, caring for him and, thank God, keeping the overly curious public away."

The World Champion had a terrible fall while he was skiing with his son Mick in Meribel located in the French Alps on December 29, 2013.

Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP reacts in parc ferme after finishing his last F1 race following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 25, 2012, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Source: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP reacts in parc ferme after finishing his last F1 race following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 25, 2012, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Source: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Schumacher, who will be celebrating his 50th birthday in January, smashed the right side of his head on a rock, and it ended up splitting his helmet open. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where multiple life-saving surgeries kept him alive but left him in a coma that lasted for six months.

The champion woke up in 2014 and was taken from the hospital in Grenoble to a private location that is rumored to be his home close to Lake Geneva, where he is currently being cared for. It is also believed that Michael is being cared for by a team of 15 physicians who give him round-the-clock care at a cost of £115,000-per-week. At the time he was released from the hospital, his wife Corinna issued a statement that asked for support in "our joint fight alongside Michael", but she also said that she will not talk about the matter further and asked for privacy.

The couple tied the knot in 1995 after they met at a Ferrari party. They have two children together: 21-year-old Gina-Maria and 19-year-old Mick. Mick races in Formula Three and won the championship in October with one race to spare. He is set to move to Formula Two in 2019 with the Italian team Prema.

A Michael Schumacher tribute banner hung by fans in the stands during day two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 7, 2018, in Montmelo, Spain. (Source: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
A Michael Schumacher tribute banner hung by fans in the stands during day two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 7, 2018, in Montmelo, Spain. (Source: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, normally issues the rare statements on behalf of the champion's family to the press while the lawyers speak on his behalf in the courtroom. In comments from 2016 that were only revealed this week, Kehm said that Schumacher has "secretly dreamed" of disappearing from the public eye. 

She said: "Once in a long discussion, Michael said to me: 'You don't need to call me for the next year, I'm disappearing.' I think it was his secret dream to be able to do that someday. That's why now I still want to protect his wishes in that I don't let anything get out."

The manager said in March that the family appreciated the "empathy" given by fans and their understanding that the F1 legend's health will remain a private matter for the family alone to know.

She said: "What can be said is that the family really appreciates the empathy of the fans. The people really do see and understand (his health situation) is not to be shared in the public eye."

This came after a statement that was released in December 2016 in which Kehm spoke of the family's stance on the matter. The statement said: "Michael's health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard. Legally seen and in the longer term, every statement related to his health would diminish the extent of his intimate sphere."