Liam Neeson

Natasha Richardson's family and friends gathered Friday in New York for her wake at the American Irish Historical Society. Her husband Liam Neeson, mother Vanessa Redgrave, sister Joely Richardson and her sons, ages 12 and 13, were among the mourners.

Numerous luminaries, including Mike Nichols, Diane Sawyer, Matthew Modine, Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, joined the family to pay their respects, according to The Associated Press. Neeson was described as distraught and shocked as he greeted loved ones at the private viewing.

Richardson's friends expressed grief and surprise throughout the day. "Natasha was a very close friend of our family, so it's been a very, very sad few days," Matthew Broderick said earlier. "And I think it will stay that way for a good while."

"She looked incredibly beautiful," amFAR's (American Foundation of AIDS Research) Mathilde Krim said of the late actress. Richardson had served on amFAR's board since 2006.

On Thursday, Broadway paid tribute to Richardson by dimming lights in theaters; London's West End followed suit to honor the English native on Friday night.

Richardson died Wednesday from a brain injury after a skiing accident in Canada. The Tony-winning actress was 45.