Michael Schumacher weeps when he hears the voices of his children, as the Formula One racing champion struggles to recover from a skiing accident that left him struggling for his life more than a year ago.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher, who has been recovering in his family home in Gland, Switzerland, since June, is now able to recognise the voices of his wife, Corrine, and children, Gina Marie, 16, and Mick, 14, according to reports.
Alberto Sabbatini, Autosprint's editor, told The Times that "sometimes a tear rolls down Michael's face. He cries when he hears the voice of his children or [his wife] Corinna."
Sabbatini added, however, that the racing star is still unable to communicate meaningfully with his family: "It shows that he feels emotion; that his brain works. It is the only way his strong character is able to externally convey an emotion," he said, according to Motorsport.com.
Sabbatini claimed that Autosprint's information was collected "as objectively as possible", based on "reliable and verified information" from "those who know and have seen him recently and are aware of his clinical status".
Schumacher, who is 46 today (3 January), sustained severe head injuries when skiing off piste with Mick, his son, in the French Alps in December, 2013.
Despite the fact that he was wearing a helmet at the time, the accident left him with brain damage and he was in a coma for six months.
Schumacher's family has released little information about his conditions, describing him as being on a "long and difficult road" to recovery.
On December 29, Schumacher's agent Sabine Kehm told Reuters that his recovery would be "a long time and a hard fight".
"He is making progress appropriate to the severity of the situation," she told the agency.
In an interview with Le Parisien, Philippe Streiff, another former F1 driver, said Schumacher "had yet to recover the power of speech" but was "nevertheless starting to recognise those close to him".
He said that he had been given the information through contact with Schumacher's wife, Corrine, and his surgeon, Gérard Saillant.