Formula One legend Schumacher at 50

One of Formula One's most successful racing drivers to date, Michael Schumacher, is celebrating his 50th birthday on January 3.

There will be celebrations with his family and friends as well as fans throughout the world, but they will be tinged by sadness.

On December 29, 2013, Michael fell while skiing off-piste near Meribel in the French Alps with his family.

He hit his head on a rock and suffered severe brain injuries that left him fighting for his life and in an artificial coma.

The German remains very much alive in the eyes of the sporting world and Formula One in particular.

Formula One superstar

By the time of his accident, Michael Schumacher had notched up 91 Grand Prix victories and seven Formula One titles, making him the most decorated star in F1 history.

Formula One's focus will be on highlighting the remarkable career and talents of a man whose fame stretched well beyond the sport, and who enthused a legion of fans in the 1990s and early years of the century.

The Ferrari museum in Maranello, Italy, is planning a special exhibition, opening on his birthday and lasting for a few months, "both as a celebration and a mark of gratitude to the most successful Prancing Horse driver ever."

Mercedes, the last team Schumacher drove for in Formula One, will have some of his cars on display at their museum in Stuttgart.

Public figure, private life

Michael Schumacher is much-loved both by his family and the sporting world and many will be celebrating his life as well as his achievements, none more so than his wife Corinna.

In a series of tweets, Schumacher's family made a rare reference to his condition and care but kept the details private as they have done ever since his accident.

"We are delighted and would like to thank you for celebrating Michael's 50th birthday tomorrow...with him and with us.

"We would like to take a look back at his victories, his records and his jubilation. You can be sure that he is in good hands and that we are doing everything we can to help him.

"Please understand, if we follow Michael's wishes and leave as sensitive a topic as health, as ever, in private. At the same time, we say thank you for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy 2019."

By way of a present to the iconic driver's many fans, the family also announced the release of the Official Michael Schumacher App on his birthday. Developed in conjunction with the Keep Fighting Foundation, the app will include a virtual museum to act as a visual history of his achievements.