NEW YORK (March 18) — Tony-winning actress Natasha Richardson has died after suffering a head injury during a skiing accident at the age of 45. She was taken off of life support early Wednesday.
Alan Nierob, the Los Angeles-based publicist for Richardson's husband Liam Neeson, confirmed her death in a written statement.
"Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha," the statement said. "They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time."
The statement did not give details on the cause of death for Richardson, who suffered a head injury when she fell on a beginner's trail during a private ski lesson at the luxury Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec. She was hospitalized Tuesday in Montreal and later flown to a hospital in New York City.
Family members had been seen coming and going from the New York hospital where Richardson was reportedly taken.
Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, arrived in a car with darkened windows and was taken through a garage when she arrived at the Lenox Hill Hospital on Manhattan's Upper East Side at around 5 p.m. Wednesday. An hour earlier, Richardson's sister, Joely, arrived alone and was swarmed by the media as she entered through the back of the hospital.
TMZ reported on Tuesday that Richardson had fallen while taking a lesson on the slopes of the Canadian resort. They say there was no blood and no sign of impact. Two ski patrollers came to her rescue. When they got there she was conscious, smiling and making jokes.
An hour later, Natasha started to complain of a headache. Someone from the resort called 911, and she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, still conscious.
It was a sudden and horrifying loss for her family and friends, for the film and theater communities, for her many fans and for both her native and adoptive countries. Descended from at least three generations of actors, Richardson was a proper Londoner who came to love the noise of New York, an elegant blonde with large, lively eyes, a bright smile and a hearty laugh.