Angela Merkel has been injured during a cross-country skiing accident in the Alpine Engadine region of eastern Switzerland.
The German Chancellor's spokesman Steffen Seibert said she has suffered a fractured pelvis and must rest as much as possible over the next three weeks.
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Mr Seibert said that Mrs Merkel's injury occurred "at low speeds", but was unable to say if another person was involved.
The injury was first thought to be just painful bruising, but after Mrs Merkel's return to Berlin, doctors diagnosed a fracture in the pelvic area.
The 59-year-old politician has been forced to cancel a number of official appointments, and will have to remain lying down as much as possible, but will continue to lead the government and hold Cabinet meetings.
"It goes without saying that as chancellor, she is capable of acting as well as communicating fully," Mr Seibert said.