Katherine Heigl got candid on Twitter today, April 2, talking about the tragic death of her brother Jason in 1986 — as part of an impassioned plea for her followers to consider becoming an organ donor.

"April is National Donate Life Month," the former Grey's Anatomy star wrote. "Organ donation is the most honorable way to preserve the memory of someone you love."

And then she discussed her personal stakes in the cause: "My brother Jason was a donor. His heart and kidneys saved the lives of three people, and his corneas gave sight to two more. On average, 18 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ. Make a decision and be an organ/tissue donor today."

In 2006, Katherine recounted the tragedy to New York Daily News. "He was 15. A week from his 16th birthday, and he was in a car accident. It's one of those things that pretty much devastates an entire family for years and years, and then it changes the entire dynamic for the rest of your life. Everything is different forever now. But I have an amazing family, and I think that we have lived with it gracefully."

Katherine and her mother, Nancy, also created an animal advocacy nonprofit, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, in his honor — as Jason was a big animal buff.

If Katherine has inspired you, check out the Donate Life America website to figure out how to become an organ donor.

Source: New York Daily News, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, Donate Life America

Dan Clarendon is an assistant editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!