Specttrum News: Fans of Formula One legend Michael Schumacher on Friday prepared to hold a silent vigil for his 45th birthday as he lay in a coma at a French hospital after a weekend skiing accident.


Ferrari, which is bussing in fans from Italy to the hospital in the southeastern French city of Grenoble to stage a silent tribute, also put out a special message on its website, saying "Forza Michael," or "Go Michael" in Italian.


"He is tackling the most important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very special wishes," Ferrari said, as similar messages poured in from around the world.


German former tennis ace Boris Becker wished Schumacher "Happy Birthday" on Twitter, adding "Fight Schumi" in a German hashtag. The retired seven-time world champion slammed his head against a rock on Sunday while skiing in the French Alps and has had two operations to remove bleeding and pressure on his brain. He is being kept in an induced coma.


In a message coinciding with his birthday, Schumacher's family said they were touched by the support. His family is at his side, including his wife Corrina, his two teenage children, his father Rolf and brother Ralph, who is also a racing driver.


"Following Michael's skiing accident, we would like to thank the people from all around the world who have expressed their sympathy and sent their best wishes for his recovery," the family said in a statement posted on Schumacher's website.