Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson arrive at the London Film Festival in October 2008. Richardson is reportedly in hospital following a skiing accident in Quebec. ((Joel Ryan/Associated Press))

The medical condition of actress Natasha Richardson — who fell Monday during a ski lesson at a Quebec resort — was being described Tuesday as anywhere from minor to life-threatening.

Friends of the British actress said she was "brain dead," according to the New York Post. 

Early reports from and said Richardson — a member of an esteemed British acting dynasty — suffered a serious head injury. Some Hollywood "insider" websites suggest Richardson has swelling of the brain.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Mont Tremblant ski resort said Richardson suffered what initially appeared to be a relatively unspectacular fall.

Montreal's Sacré-Coeur hospital confirmed that Richardson had left the facility on Tuesday, but a hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on the extent of her injuries or where she was transferred.

A person close to the family later confirmed that the actress is now in New York City, according to the Associated Press. That person offered no further details.

A family representative will release a statement Wednesday, the hospital spokeswoman said.

According to online reports, Richardson, 45, was transferred via private jet to New York, with her husband, actor Liam Neeson, by her side.

Fall occurred on beginner's trail

Lyne Lortie of the Mont Tremblant ski resort said Richardson was conscious and showed no signs of a serious head injury after she fell on a beginner run on Monday while in the company of an experienced instructor.

Though the actress had not been wearing a helmet, she fell "right in the middle of the trail. She didn't hit anyone or anything. It was a normal fall that you would expect from a ski lesson," Lortie told CBC News.

"She showed no injuries. She was talking. She seemed all right. But [the ski patrol] have to follow strict procedures so they brought her back to the bottom of the slope."

Lortie added that Monday was a "beautiful sunny day" in Mont Tremblant and that the slope "wasn't icy at all."

The patrol accompanied Richardson and her instructor to her hotel room, where the actress was advised to see a doctor. Later, Richardson reported feeling unwell and an ambulance was called.

The actress was first taken to the Centre Hospitalier Laurentien in Ste-Agathe and later transferred to Sacré-Coeur hospital in Montreal, the ski resort said.

Neeson rushed from set to be with wife

Neeson, who had been in Toronto filming the Atom Egoyan movie Chloe on Monday, immediately left the Toronto set upon receiving news of his wife's accident.

The couple's two pre-teen sons, Michael and Daniel, are reportedly in New York although one media report said the elder son, Michael, was with his mother at Mont Tremblant.

"We know that she has had an accident, but we really do not know any more details," actress Kika Markham, Richardson's aunt, told BBC Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones in London earlier Tuesday.

"We are very concerned," said Markham, who is married to Richardson's uncle, Corin Redgrave. 

Hails from prominent theatre family

Richardson is the elder daughter of Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson.

As well as her uncle Corin and aunt Kika, her aunt Lynne Redgrave and sister Joely Richardson are actors. So were her maternal grandparents, Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

Richardson's film credits include The Handmaid's Tale, Gothic, A Month in the Country, Nell — in which she appeared with Neeson — The Parent Trap and Maid in Manhattan.

Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, Richardson is also an acclaimed stage actress both on the West End and Broadway, where she won a Tony Award in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

In January, Richardson and her mother played the roles of mother and daughter in a one-night benefit concert version of A Little Night Music, the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical, in New York. They are also set to star in an coming revival of the production.

Richardson married Neeson in 1994.

With files from the Canadian Press