Michael Schumacher overcame his fear of heights by regularly jumping out of airplanes and walked away from numerous crashes during a Formula One racing career in which he dominated like no other driver before him. The German has also survived a serious motorbike accident. But the father of two is now fighting for his life following a skiing accident in the French Alps that took place just five days before his 45th birthday. ENJOYING LIFEHis wife Corinna, their 16-year-old daughter Gina-Maria and their 14-year-old son Mick, who was with Schumacher when the accident occurred, are by his bedside at the hospital in Grenoble. Schumi, as his fans call him, had been enjoying life since retiring from F1 for a second time in 2012, including spending more time on risky hobbies such as parachute jumping and motorbike riding. In February 2009, Schumacher fell from his motorbike in Cartagena, Spain, suffering head injuries which dashed hopes he had of making a return to F1 in that year. Schumacher finally recovered and, together with Mercedes, announced a racing comeback shortly before Christmas 2009, describing his feelings as similar to a "12-year-old skipping around the place." CHAMPION OF HEARTSThe record seven-time world champion failed to add to his tally of 91 race wins during his comeback, but attracted much sympathy for his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. Uncompromising, obsessed, cold, calculating and a perfectionist. These are the adjectives probably most used to describe Schumacher from the moment he made his F1 racing debut with Jordan in 1991. A "world champion of hearts" the German certainly was not for many race fans. Schumacher once explained: "I am not the type of person who likes to show emotion except to those who know me well. Otherwise, I control myself as much as I can. "Perhaps people don't get a true picture of who I really am." Schumacher controlled not only himself, but also his sport. As well as winning seven world titles and 91 F1 races, he also claimed 68 poles, more than anyone one else in the history of the sport. On August 25, 1991, Schumacher competed in his first of 306 F1 races at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. 'MY HEART WAS GETTING WEAKER'The story of him having to spend the night in a youth hostel with then manager Willi Weber is part of the Schumacher legend. A year later, Schumacher secured the first of his seven titles, once again at Spa. In an era when the sport was much more dangerous than it is today, Schumacher was involved in his most serious accident at the British GP at Silverstone on July 11, 1999, when he broke a leg. "Suddenly, I felt how my heart beat was getting weaker and weaker before it stopped beating altogether. The lights went out," he recalled. "That 'must be how it is when you are on your way above,' I thought."