Formula I motor racing legend Michael Schumacher was fighting for his life in intensive care tonight following a horrific skiing accident.
The 44-year-old's head hit a rock following an off-piste fall in the French Alpine resort of Meribel on Sunday morning.
An emergency evacuation airlifted Schumacher off the slopes by helicopter while still conscious.
Tonight, respected local newspaper Dauphine Libere reported that the German's life was in danger.
A report filed at 7.20pm read: 'The state of health of the veteran driver has worsened and his condition is considered life-threatening, according to our information'.
The Dauphine is one of the most respected papers in the Alps, and has outstanding medical contacts.
An hour before, a surgeon specialising in brain and spinal injuries arrived at the hospital where Schumacher was being treated for a 'very serious' head injury.
Gerard Saillant, one of the leading neurologists in Paris and a friend of the star, was accompanied by police as he was rushed to the hospital in eastern France.
Olivier Panis, the former French F1 driver who lives in Grenoble, tried to visit his friend this evening but was turned away by the hospital authorities.
Schumacher fell while out skiing with his 14-year-old son, Mick, and other friends.
The driver's agent, Sabine Kehm, said: 'Michael fell on his head during a private ski trip in the French Alps.
'He was hospitalised and is receiving medical care. We ask for your understanding that we cannot give a running commentary on his state of health.
He was wearing a helmet and was not alone.' Schumacher, who was FI world champion seven times, was originally airlifted to nearby Moutiers following the accident, which happened just after 11am.
Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, director of tourism in Meribel, said that two rescuers reached the sports star 'within six minutes and called a helicopter'.
The sports star was not unconscious, but clearly in a 'bad way', said Mr Gernigon-Lecomte. He said Schumacher's condition was 'not life threatening'.
He said Schumacher had been skiing 'just off piste', close to the Dent de Burgin (Tooth of Burgin) chairlift, between the Biche and Mauduit pistes.
Nobody else was involved in the accident, which is being investigated by gendarmes.
At around 1.30pm, Schumacher arrived at Grenoble hospital, which has better facilities for dealing with serious head injuries than Moutiers.
Professor Saillant is a close friend of both Schumacher and his former Ferrari team boss, Jean Todt.
Professor Saillant, an expert in brain and spinal injuries, oversaw Schumacher's medical care when the German broke his leg in the 1999 British Grand Prix.
Schumacher won the most championships race victories, fastest laps, pole positions and races in a single season.
He officially retired at the end of the 2012 season after a four-year break from the sport. He turned down the chance to drive for Lotus in the final two races of this year.
Schumacher, who turns 45 in January, has one son, and a daughter, Gina-Marie, with his wife, Corinna. The family own a chalet in Meribel.
Schumacher is a passionate and highly experienced skier. He has a piste named after him in the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio.
Conditions have been particularly dangerous in the Alps over the Christmas holidays, with a number of skiers dying in avalanches.
Mr Gernigon-Lecomte said: 'This accident is the proof that you can't do whatever you want. It's necessary to stay on the pistes, even when weather conditions are good.'
It was bright and sunny in Meribel this morning.