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Actress Anne Heche dies aged 53, one week after major car crash

The actor was hospitalised after the crash in Los Angeles last week.

File image of Anne Heche at a Los Angeles premiere in 2021.
File image of Anne Heche at a Los Angeles premiere in 2021.
Image: Billy Bennight

Updated Aug 12th 2022, 10:38 PM

US ACTRESS ANNE Heche has died aged 53, a week after she was critically injured in a car crash in Los Angeles. 

In a statement to CNN, her family said she is “brain dead”, which is the definition of death under California law, but remains on life support as they seek a match for organ donation, in respect of her wishes.

“We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy,” the statement read.

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

Heche’s son Homer also released a statement on behalf of himself and his brother Atlas.

“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom,” he said.

“Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continues to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you.”

In a tweet, her former partner Ellen DeGeneres said: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Heche’s friend Nancy Davis has paid tribute to her on Instagram, saying: “Heaven has a new Angel . My loving , kind , fun , endearing and beautiful friend Anne Heche went to heaven.

“I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared,” she said.

Actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted “Rest in Peace now Anne,” while writer and film historian Mark Harris shared a profile of the actress on Twitter, adding that she “deserves to be remembered with compassion”. 

Heche crashed her car into a two-story house in the Mar Vista neighborhood on 5 August.

She was taken to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital following the crash, but shortly afterwards lost consciousness.

The crash left Heche in a coma with a “severe anoxic brain injury,” according to a statement from a representative quoted by several outlets yesterday.

“It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she’s being kept on life support to determine if any are viable,” the statement said.

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

“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.”

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the crash last week resulted in “structural compromise and… heavy fire” at the scene.

The ensuing blaze took 59 firefighters 65 minutes to contain and fully extinguish, the department said.

Los Angeles police said in a statement yesterday that they would be conducting tests of Heche’s blood, and that investigators intended to “present this case to the appropriate prosecuting office”, though they did not specify a charge.

Heche starred in a number of movies from the 1990s including Six Days, Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco and I Know What You Did Last Summer. 

Heche was also known for her role on the soap opera Another World, for which she won a Daytime Emmy in 1991.

Additional reporting by Jane Moore

© AFP 2022

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