Michael Schumacher has "moments of consciousness and awakening", his spokeswoman said Friday, in a sign of progress months after the Formula One legend suffered devastating brain injuries in a ski accident.
Doctors put Schumacher in a medically induced coma after the December 29 accident in which he slammed his head on a rock while skiing at the French resort of Meribel with his son and friends, and little has filtered through since about his condition.
"Michael is making progress.... He shows moments of consciousness and awakening," Sabine Kehm said in a statement.
The 45-year-old remains in hospital in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, where he underwent two operations to remove life-threatening blood clots before being placed into a coma.
His family said at the end of January that drugs used to keep him in his deep sleep were being reduced with a view to bringing him back to consciousness.
"We are on his side during his long and difficult fight, together with the team of the hospital in Grenoble, and we keep remaining confident," Kehm said Friday.
There have already been signs of hope for the seven-time world champion.
In February, his friend and former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was quoted as saying that Schumacher seemed to respond to him during a visit.
"He is sleeping, he looks normal and he showed a few responses with his mouth," Massa told German tabloid Bild.
And last month, Schumacher's family said they were confident that the racing legend who defied death more than once on the track would pull through.
"There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient", Kehm said at the time in a statement.
"It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation," the statement read.
Schumacher survived a motorbike accident in Spain in 2009, during which he suffered head and neck injuries but was released from hospital after just five hours.
And even after retiring from the high-risk world of racing, he kept pursuing other high-thrill hobbies as the holder of a pilot's license, an accomplished motorbike rider, parachutist, skier and mountain climber.
Kehm once again asked that the privacy of Schumacher's wife Corinna and their two children be respected, while thanking well-wishers for their support.
"We again ask for understanding that we do not intend to disclose details. This is necessary to protect the privacy of Michael and his family, and to enable the medical team to work in full calmness," she said Friday.