Anne Heche declared brain dead after car crash in Los Angeles

Anne Heche declared brain dead after car crash in Los Angeles


American actress Anne Heche has been declared brain dead, her representatives have confirmed. The 53-year-old actress was hospitalised and had been in a coma following a car crash a week ago.

Heche, who starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer and the television soap opera Another World, remains on life support while doctors assess whether she is able to donate her organs.

Anne Heche, pictured at a premiere in December last year, has died.Credit:AP

“After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness,” her son Homer, 20, told US media today. “Hopefully, my mum is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.”

A statement from her family issued by Heche’s representatives added: “We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend.”

The family statement said Heche would be deeply missed “but lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy.

“Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement said.

Anne Heche at the Directors Guild of America Awards in March this year.Credit:AP

Last week Heche was in a car accident; the vehicle she was in ran off the road and into a private property. The house was destroyed in the process and Heche was conveyed to hospital in critical condition.

According to her representatives, Heche suffered an anoxic brain injury, which deprives the brain of oxygen.

Police said on Thursday (US time) they were investigating whether Heche was driving under the influence at the time; a sample of her blood was taken and narcotics were found in her system, LAPD spokesperson Officer Jeff Lee said.

Additional toxicology tests were being taken, to more clearly clarify what was in her system, and whether the initial test was picking up medication administered at the hospital during treatment. Those additional tests could take weeks to return a result.

Heche’s representatives released a statement on Thursday saying the actress had long held a wish to donate her organs, and that she would be kept on life support until a medical determination could be made over the viability of her organs.

Under California law, even though life support remains on, Heche has been declared legally dead.

“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit,” the statement said.

“More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work, especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love. She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”

Heche is best known for roles in films including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Volcano and Six Days, Seven Nights. Her television credits include the series Men in Trees and the daytime soap opera Another World, for which she won an Emmy Award.

She published a memoir, Call Me Crazy, in 2001, and starred in Broadway productions of Proof, and Twentieth Century. For the latter of those two, she received a Tony Award nomination.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was involved romantically with comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. She was later in relationships with cameraman Coleman Laffoon and actor James Tupper.

Heche has two sons from her relationships with Laffoon and Tupper, Homer, 20, and Atlas, 13.

“Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me,” Homer said. “I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my dad Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time.”

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