Formula One great Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December, his manager said yesterday.
Schumacher left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation", manager Sabine Kehm said. She gave no details of his condition.
Schumacher, 45, was now at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, hospital spokesman Darcy Christen said.
Schumacher, his wife and their two children live in Switzerland.
The accident happened on a family holiday as he was skiing with his 14-year-old son.
The German driver suffered severe head injuries in the December 29 accident. His helmet split when he crashed into rocks on a slope at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps.
Doctors in Grenoble put him into a coma to rest his brain and decrease swelling, and operated to remove blood clots, but some of the clots were too deeply embedded.
Yesterday's development was the first substantial update since Kehm said in early April that Schumacher "shows moments of consciousness and awakening".
"If he's been released from the hospital he was in, it means he's able to support his own breathing and bodily functions," said Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University's John Radcliffe Hospital.
The fact that Schumacher was going into rehabilitation "suggests there's been long-term side effects of his injury", he added.
"With rehabilitation, they'll try to train him to cope with the disabilities that he's got, to achieve as much life function as possible," Aziz said.
"If he's had a brain injury, he may have weakness in his limbs secondary to loss of brain function. He may have problems with speech and swallowing."
Schumacher earned universal acclaim for his uncommon and sometimes ruthless driving talent, which led to a record 91 race wins. He retired from F1 racing in 2012 after an unmatched seven world titles.