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Schumacher to Donate $10 Million

January 21, 2005|Shav Glick

Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who lost one of his bodyguards in the Asian tsunami last month, will donate $10 million to the victims of the Dec. 26 tidal waves that devastated Indian Ocean shorelines.

"The dawning of the New Year has not been as joyful for us this year because of the catastrophe in Asia," the seven-time F1 champion said on his website. "It's so unfathomable and horrible, what happened to so many people. One cannot simply blind it out. We're suffering with them."

Schumacher, who was 36 Jan. 3, reportedly earned $30 million in salary last year, making him the world's highest-paid athlete.

The lavish donation was revealed by the Ferrari driver's manager, Willi Weber, during a German television fundraising drive for UN Children's Fund and German Red Cross that received more than 34 million euros in pledges.

It is thought to be the highest individual donation made in the earthquake-tidal wave disaster that killed more than 150,000 people.

Burkhard Cramer, 44, a bodyguard for Schumacher, died while vacationing at Phuket, a Thailand resort that was demolished. Cramer's two sons, Henry, 5, and Mika, 4, are also believed to have died.

After presenting a Ferrari 2004 car to Pope John Paul II Monday in Rome, Schumacher opened his campaign Tuesday for an eighth Grand Prix championship by testing on Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

The season opens March 6 in Melbourne, Australia.

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