#KeepFightingMichael: Sporting world pays tribute to Schumacher on 50th birthday

The world of sport has sent messages of support to Michael Schumacher on his 50th birthday as the seven-time Formula One champion continues to recover from a skiing accident in 2013.

#KeepFightingMichael was trending on social media around the world on Thursday morning in support of the most-decorated driver in F1 history, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while holidaying in the French Alps five years ago.

Rival F1 teams, like Renault, McLaren and Mercedes, as well as the official accounts for race tracks like Brands Hatch and the Nurburgring, also wished Schumacher well.

Tributes also extended beyond motor sport.

The German national football team posted a tribute on Twitter wishing Schumacher a happy birthday alongside a picture of the driver visiting his countrymen in training.

In a tweet on the anniversary of the accident, former Arsenal and Germany striker Lukas Podolski simply posted the praying and strong arm emojis to Twitter alongside the hashtag #KeepFightingMichael.

And the official account for Australian football club South Melbourne FC posted a picture of Schumacher in the club kit after a training session.

Schumacher's family led the tributes with the release of a "virtual museum" in the form of an app "to remember and celebrate his victories, his records and his jubilation".

Son Mick, who followed his father into motorsport, promoted the app and encouraged his Twitter followers to "have fun with it".

And daughter Gina wished her father a happy birthday on Instagram with pictures from his glory days captioned "to the best dad".

The family of the German-born star, often called the greatest driver of all time, asked for continued privacy in a rare statement on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Statement of Michael's family: "We are very happy to celebrate Michael's 50th birthday tomorrow together with you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts that we can do this together. As a gift to him, you and us, Keep Fighting Foundation has created a virtual museum. The Official Michael Schumacher App will be released tomorrow, so that we can review all together Michael's successes. The app is another milestone in our effort to do justice to him and you, his fans, by celebrating his accomplishments. We wish you a lot of fun with it. Michael can be proud of what he has achieved, and so are we! That's why we remember his successes with the Michael Schumacher Private Collection exhibition in Cologne, by publishing memories in social media and by continuing his charitable work through the Keep Fighting Foundation. We want to remember and celebrate his victories, his records and his jubilation. You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him. Please understand if we are following Michael's wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy. At the same time we say thank you very much for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy year 2019." @keepfighting #Michael50 #TeamMichael

A post shared by Michael Schumacher (@michaelschumacher) on

"Please understand if we are following Michael's wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy," it read.

"We say thank you very much for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy year 2019."

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