Natasha Richardson

AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Natasha Richardson has been taken off life support.

Sources close to the family tell E! News that the Tony Award winner was brain dead by the time she arrived in New York Tuesday night. Earlier today, the family made the wrenching call to remove her from respirators.

Accompanied by husband Liam Neeson, the 45-year-old Richardson was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan Tuesday, a day after injuring her head in a skiing accident in Montreal.

Since her arrival, Neeson and the couple's two sons had been keeping vigil. Also paying visits were members of Richardson's family, including her mother, Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave, sister Joely Richardson and aunt Lynn Redgrave.

“It’s particularly tragic for Vanessa,” laments a Richardson confidante, “because she just finished playing a woman who loses her daughter in The Year of Magical Thinking, and now she has to endure it all over again.”

On Tuesday, E! News was told that after her fall during a private lesson on a beginner's slope at the Mont Tremblant ski resort, Richardson walked away seemingly unscathed.

"[Richardson] was accompanied by an experienced ski instructor who immediately called the ski patrol," a statement from the Mont Tremblant resort said. "She did not show any visible sign of injury, but the ski patrol followed strict procedures and brought her back to the bottom of the slope and insisted she should see a doctor."

Resort spokeswoman Catherine Lacasse said that the actress was not wearing a ski helmet for her lesson. Reports say she was with her two sons with Neeson, Micheal Richard Antonio, 13, and Daniel Jack, 12, and returned to her hotel room shortly afterward.

"She was laughing and joking, and she walked to her room on her own," Lacasse said.

An hour later, Richardson fell ill with a headache. She reportedly was conscious upon leaving for the hospital. Richardson was transferred to Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal at about 5 p.m. after initially being taken to Centre Hospitalier Laurentien, which is close to the tony ski resort in Quebec.

Neeson, who was filming a movie in Toronto, was by her side as quickly as possible.

"Liam Neeson left the Toronto set immediately to fly to Montreal upon news of his wife's accident," the star's rep said in a statement.

The couple left the hospital together via ambulance at about 12:30 p.m. and were taken to Elliott Trudeau Airport to board a private flight back to New York.

"I was informed by the family's rep…she has left Canada," a hospital spokeswoman told E! News Tuesday, adding that "the family should give [out] more information by tomorrow."

But so far nothing. The family's spokesman would only say Wednesday, "There is nothing new to report on this matter."

—Additional reporting by Marc Malkin and Natalie Finn

(Originally published March 17, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. PT).

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