The confusion between brain death and death is probably not going to dissipate anytime soon. For example, multiple national media are reporting the "passing away" of Usher's 11-year-old stepson Kile Glover "after being taken off life support." But they also note that Kile already "was pronounced dead over a week ago after being involved in a jet-ski accident."
Worse, matters seem to have been further confused by neurologist Dr. Brent Masel, national director of the Brain Injury Association of America and medical director of the Transitional Learning Center of Galveston, Texas. Dr. Masel stated: "When someone is declared brain dead, it's not that their brain is not functioning at all." "There are two components to the brain, the cerebrum, which is the thinking part and the brain stem, which narrows and becomes the spinal cord." The stem is the automatic part, which controls respiration and heart rate and someone can technically live without a functioning cerebrum, which is not unusual in such injuries. "The thinking part of the brain is no longer functioning and all the patient has functioning is the brain stem."
I hope that Dr. Masel was misquoted. Brain death is statutorily defined as the "irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain, including the brainstem."