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"Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend," a rep for Heche said. "Anne will be deeply missed but she 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 actress, who was in a coma for a week following a car accident on Friday, Aug. 5, had no brain function, her rep told PEOPLE. The star was kept on life support to allow the OneLegacy Foundation to find matching recipients to whom to donate Heche's viable organs.
Her longtime friend, Nancy Davis, confirmed the news on Instagram, writing: "Heaven has a new Angel. My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend @anneheche went to heaven. I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared."
Heche was "not expected to survive" following the crash. "Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition," Heche's rep said in a statement late on Aug. 11.
The statement, released on behalf of the actress' family, continued, "It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she's being kept on life support to determine if any are viable. We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne's recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital."
Heche, driving a blue Mini Cooper, crashed her car into the rented Mar Vista, California, home of Lynne Mishele, causing the residence to catch fire. Heche suffered severe burns and injuries; Mishele was reportedly not seriously injured.
TMZ reported at the time that Heche was involved in a minor accident at an apartment complex immediately before crashing into Mishele's home. Heche allegedly sped away from the apartment complex collision.
Heche turned to acting when she was young to escape a heartbreaking past: She revealed in a 2001 interview with ABC News that her father sexually abused her throughout her childhood; he died of AIDS in 1983, leading Heche to fear for her own life as a result.
Heche recalled that when she told her mother about her father's ongoing sexual abuse, her mother disowned her.
Three months after her father's death, her 18-year-old brother died in a car crash.
In 1988, she got her first star turn, playing twins Marley and Victoria Hudson in Another World. She earned the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991.
It was far from the only time Heche juggled more than one personality. To mentally dissociate herself from her father's sexual abuse and the trauma she suffered not just from the abuse itself, but from her mother's response to it, Heche found herself with a second personality and struggling with substance abuse for much of her life.
"I had a fantasy world that I escaped to. I called my other personality Celestia. I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet," she told ABC News. "I think I was insane."
"To have gone through so much work to heal myself and have my mother not acknowledge in any way that she was sorry for what had happened to me broke my heart," she explained. "And in that moment, I split off from myself."
Her career continued to soar, even as her mental health deteriorated, with acclaimed performances in Donnie Brasco, Volcano and The Juror and starring roles in Six Days Seven Nights and the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho as Marion Crane.
Heche said she looked to others for love and validation, including her boyfriend of two years, Steve Martin, who was 30 years her senior, and girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres, who she famously dated from 1997 to August 2000. Heche told Page Six that her career suffered because of her relationship with DeGeneres, lamenting in 2021, “I didn’t do a studio picture for 10 years [after dating DeGeneres]. I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture."
Following her split from DeGeneres, Heche found love once more with cameraman Coley Laffoon, who she married in 2001. They shared son Homer and separated in 2007, finalizing their divorce in 2009.
Heche reportedly left Laffoon for her Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. She and Tupper welcomed son Atlas in 2009. Tupper and Heche split in 2018. In 2019, she was first linked to actor Thomas Jane; in September 2021 Us Weekly reported Heche was dating skincare magnate Peter Thomas Roth.
Despite her professional life slowing down post-DeGeneres on the big screen, Heche worked steadily in TV for the rest of her life, with roles in shows including Everwood, Nip/Tuck, Men In Trees, The Michael J. Fox Show, The Brave, Quantico, Chicago P.D. and All Rise. She will also appear in The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp series The Idol.
Heche is survived by Laffoon, Tupper and her sons, as well as a sister named Abigail.
Tupper posted a photo of Heche on Instagram following her passing. He captioned the picture, "Love you forever."
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"Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit," her family said in a statement. "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."