Natasha Richardson's Organs Donated After Her Death

03/25/2009 at 01:00 PM EDT

Natasha Richardson's Organs Donated After Her Death
Natasha Richardson
Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic; Marion Curtis/Startraks
As the loved ones of Natasha Richardson continue to mourn, a family decision made in the wake of the Tony-winning actress's sudden death March 18 has brought a measure of comfort: After Richardson was taken off life support at Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital, her family requested that her organs be donated to other patients whose lives they might save.

Organ donation "is very Natasha," a family friend says in the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. "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]."

Richardson, 45, died after falling during a ski lesson at a Canadian resort on March 16. An autopsy performed in New York City showed that a blow to her head had caused a fatal epidural hematoma, bleeding between her brain and her skull.

'Liam Doing Okay'

In the days since Richardson's death, her husband of 14 years, actor Liam Neeson, 56, and the couple's sons Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12, have shown remarkable public poise in dealing with the tragedy. "Liam is doing okay," says family friend Blaine Trump. "It takes a while to absorb this. But he says the family needs to move forward. They will take it one step at a time."

The Irish actor was expected to return to work on the Toronto set of his upcoming drama Chloe, and the boys were headed back to school. "With good friends by their side," says Trump, "they will get through the tough days ahead."

To read more about Richardson, including touching details of her wake and funeral, pick up the new PEOPLE, on sale Friday

Reporting by LINDA MARX and LIZ MCNEIL

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