Vanessa Redgrave overcome with grief

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson's mother's grief

Vanessa Redgrave collapsed in shock after the life support machine of her daughter Natasha Richardson was switched off.

Vanessa Redgrave collapsed in shock after the death of her daughter Natasha Richardson.

The 72-year-old actress was overcome with emotion when the life support machine of 45-year-old Natasha was switched off at New York's Lenox Hospital and briefly passed out.

A source said: "The family asked to be alone with Natasha at the end. But it was overwhelming for Vanessa, who fainted. Nurses were asked to help. She recovered enough to be supported by her family."

Moments before, Vanessa - who was with Natasha's husband Liam Neeson at the actress' bedside when she died - sang the lullaby 'Edelweiss' from the musical 'The Sound of Music'.

She had performed the song at Natasha's 1990 wedding to first husband Robert Fox.

Natasha - who has two sons, Micheal, 13, and 12-year-old Daniel, with Liam - died from head injuries following a skiing accident in Canada.

The night before the tragic accident, Vanessa had questioned her daughter's decision to go skiing.

Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chairperson of the American Ireland Fund, had been speaking to Vanessa at the group's New York meeting.

She said: "Vanessa was saying, 'Natasha is off skiing, I don't understand. She doesn't even like to ski.' "

Meanwhile, a letter Vanessa penned to Natasha two years ago has been revealed, in which she speaks of her love for her daughter and apologised for not always being there for her and her sister Joely Richardson.

In it she wrote: "I feel a little shy about saying how wild I am about you. But I truly am. What I love most about our relationship is the total trust we have in each other.

"I remember being pretty surprised when I eventually got to talk to you as an adult. I found out a lot about your life that I had previously known nothing about, and I remember feeling very glad that you were willing to share it with me."


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