Michael Schumacher has left hospital following the skiing accident that nearly claimed his life.
After an agonising five-month wait for his family, friends and fans, the Formula 1 legend has finally been discharged from the hospital in Grenoble where he has been recovering after suffering a serious head injury sustained in the French Alps on 29 December.
The 45-year-old, who was placed in a medically-induced coma to reduce swelling in his brain, will continue his rehabilitation at an undisclosed location.
His family thanked those who had sent Michael messages of support, saying: "We are sure it helped." They also praised the medical staff at the hospital for the "excellent job" they had done taking care of the F1 champion.
A statement, released by Michael's manager Sabine Kehm on behalf of his wife Corinna and their two children, read: "Michael has left the CHU Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma anymore.
Michael Schumacher's skiing accident December last year almost claimed his life
"His family would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.
"The family also wishes to thank all the people who sent Michael all the many good wishes. We are sure it helped him.
"For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye."
Michael had been skiing off-piste at the time of his accident, when he fell and struck his head on a rock. He underwent two operations in one day to remove life-threatening blood clots before being placed in a coma.
Announcements since then have been few and far between; this latest news will delight his fans around the world and the Formula 1 community at large.
Michael retired from motor racing in 2012 after an incredible 19-year career. He won two F1 titles with Benetton, in 1994 and 1995, and five consecutive championships with Ferrari. He came back to the sport in 2010 before retiring for a second time two years later.