Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher, pictured here in 2011, has now returned home from hospital. Reuters

Motor-racing legend Michael Schumacher has left the hospital to continue his recovery at home nearly nine months after suffering a severe head injury while skiing in France. Following the accident last December, which left him in critical condition, the seven-time Formula One champion spent six months in a medically induced coma in a French hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Lausanne, Switzerland. He will now return to his home in the Swiss city of Gland, near Geneva.

Despite the news, the 45-year-old’s manager Sabine Kehm cautioned that he still had a “long and difficult road ahead.” Schumacher was skiing in the French Alps while on holiday with his family when his head struck a rock on Dec. 29.

“Henceforth, Michael's rehabilitation will take place at his home. Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months,” read a statement by Kehm. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at CHUV Lausanne for their thorough and competent work. We ask the privacy of Michael’s family continue to be respected, and that speculation about his state of health is avoided.”

Schumacher’s family has faced more than one case of severe intrusion during his recovery. First, just days after the accident, a journalist dressed as a priest attempted to enter the German’s hospital room. Later, a doctor’s report was offered for sale to the media. The only further details released on Tuesday were to deny reports that his family home had been specially configured in order to aid his care.

Schumacher’s seven drivers’ championships are a record in Formula One, as are his 91 race victories earned during a 17-year- career. After winning his first two titles with Benetton, he transferred to the sport's biggest name, Ferrari, where he won five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004. Although he retired the following year, Schumacher returned to the sport with Mercedes in 2010 and drove with the German team for three seasons.