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Natasha Richardson Taken Off Life Support

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Mar. 17 2009, Updated 10:33 a.m. ET

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In a devastating turn of events, OK! has learned that Natasha Richardson has died after suffering a fatal brain injury while skiing in Canada.

A source close to the actress's family confirms to OK! exclusively that Richardson, 45, was considered brain dead, and that it was the decision of the family to take her off life support a couple of hours ago. "The family is devastated," the source tells OK!.

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Richardson arrived in NYC from Canada via private jet earlier today.

Initial reports said the Broadway star suffered severe head trauma while taking a beginners ski lesson in Montreal. Later it was learned that Richardson had not been wearing a helmet but had walked away from her fall and showed no external signs of injury, instead laughing and joking about the mishap. However, an hour later she began having headaches and complained of not feeling well. 

"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."

Richardson had been married to Irish actor Liam Neeson, 56, since 1994. They have two sons, Micheal Richard Antonio, 13, and Daniel Jack, 12.

The family is expected to release a statement on Wednesday. 

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