Fans of Michael Schumacher are attending a silent vigil outside the Grenoble hospital where the Formula One legend is fighting for his life.
Today marks his 45th birthday and his former team Ferrari, with whom he won five successive titles, said it wants the ceremony to be respectful.
The German seven-time world champion is in a coma after falling and hitting his head while skiing in Meribel in the French Alps on Sunday.
Schumacher’s condition is described as critical but stable. With doctors saying it is too early to talk about Schumacher’s prospects of recovery, his fans know he is facing the biggest battle of his life.
Schumacher, F1’s most successful driver, retired from the sport for a second time late last year after staging a comeback in 2010 with Mercedes.
Local authorities meanwhile, have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
Bon Anniversaire à Michael Schumacher qui fête ses 45 ans aujourd'hui ! pic.twitter.com/adGro1u3Pl— (@ClarenceGtr) 3 Janvier 2014
Happy Birthday Michael Schumacher Lâche pas champion! pic.twitter.com/agSKe3Tl9D— Claudia Vallée (@ClocloQuebec) 3 Janvier 2014