French reports that Michael Schumacher is gradually being brought out of his controlled coma appear to have been confirmed by the driver's management team.

Just 24 hours after a statement was issued pleading the media not to continue running speculative stories about Schumacher's condition and future prognosis, another update combined a repeat request for privacy with corroboration of French media claims that the seven-time world champion was now embarking on another stage of treatment following the skiing accident that left him with serious head injuries a month ago.

"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process, which may take a long time," the missive confirmed, "For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated. Please note that no further updates will be given."

Aware that the news will undoubtedly spark a fresh wave of media interest in Schumacher's story, the statement also called for respect to be shown to those closest to him.

"The family is again requesting respect [for] its privacy and the medical secret, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work," it read, "At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the world-wide sympathy."

l'Equipe claims that the waking process, under the supervision of Dr Emmanuel Gay, began on Tuesday, and that Schumacher had 'responded positively' to the initial stages of the process. The German's management, however, has asked that speculation give way to reports coming directly from themselves or the medical teams.

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