Natasha Richardson's organs donated: report

Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:57am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - The family of the late British actress Natasha Richardson, who died of a head injury last week after a skiing accident, has donated her organs to others fighting for their lives, according to media reports.

Richardson, 45, died in a New York hospital last Wednesday, two days after falling and hitting her head during a private ski lesson at Canada's Mont Tremblant resort. She was not wearing a helmet at the time.

People magazine's website said her family, including her Irish actor husband Liam Neeson, requested after she was removed from life support that her organs be donated to other patients in need.

The website quoted a family friend as saying organ donation "is very Natasha."

"She spent so much time fighting the stigma of AIDS; someone like that would naturally donate her organs. At least by donating her organs something good could come out of (the tragedy)."

Figures from the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network showed that as of March 25 about 101,257 people were waiting for organ transplants in the United States with about 19 people dying a day while waiting for a suitable donor.

In the United States, donors needs to have stated during their lifetime that they were willing to donate their organs.

Neeson and the couple's two sons, aged 13 and 12, her actress mother Vanessa Redgrave and her sister Joely Richardson were joined on Sunday by friends and family to mourn the loss of the Tony-winning actress at a funeral in Millbrook, upstate New York, where the family lived.

Neeson was expected to return to work on the Toronto set of his upcoming drama "Chloe" while the boys were headed back to school, People said.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)

<p>British actress Natasha Richardson poses during a photocall for the film 'Asylum' by director David Mackenzie at the 55th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 11, 2005. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>