Actress Anne Heche dies a week after crash, aged 53

Actress Anne Heche dies a week after crash, aged 53
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Anne Heche has died a week after a severe car crash that left her in a coma, aged 53.

The US actress remains on life support and under evaluation for organ donation after a car crash that led to her brain death, a representative for the actor said Friday.

Under current California law, death can be determined by the loss of all brain function and in accordance with accepted medical standards.

While Heche is legally dead, she’s on life support and “her heart is still beating” so that the nonprofit organisation OneLegacy can determine if she can be a donor, spokeswoman Holly Baird said in a statement.

The process, which involves assessing which organs are viable and finding an appropriate recipient, could take from one day to several days.

Detectives investigating the crash said narcotics were found in a blood sample taken from Heche, though toxicology tests still had to be performed to differentiate them from drugs she was given for her injuries, Los Angeles police said.

Family said in a statement the US actress suffered “severe anoxic brain injury" and remained in a coma in critical condition due to the incident, which took place last Friday.

The 53-year-old was taken to hospital following the crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles.

“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," the statement said.

“Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive," the statement read.

“It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable.

The statement added: "Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit.

“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."

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said that they were investigating whether Ms Heche was impaired at the time of the incident but that “additional testing is required to rule out any substances that were administered in the hospital”.

The vehicle crashed into a home and caused a “heavy fire”. It took 65 minutes to fully extinguish, said firefighters.

The occupant of the house escaped without injury, according to reports.

Ms Heche is known for films including Donnie Brasco, Cedar Rapids and the 1998 Psycho remake.

In 1997 alone, she played opposite Johnny Depp as his wife in “Donnie Brasco” and Tommy Lee Jones in “Volcano” and was part of the ensemble cast in the original “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

The following year, she starred with Harrison Ford in “Six Days, Seven Nights” and appeared with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix in “Return to Paradise.”

Tributes are flowing for the actress.

Ellen DeGeneres, Ms Heche’s former girlfriend, wrote “this is a sad day” on Instagram.

“I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all my love.” They were a couple from 1997 to 2000.

Ms Heche’s friend Nancy Davis shared a series of photos of herself with the actress her Instagram page and wrote in the caption: “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 .

“Anne was always the kindest, most thoughtful person who always brought out the best in me...My heart is broken“.