Actor Anne Heche was pronounced “brain dead” on Friday following injuries from a car crash days earlier, according to a joint statement her family and friends shared with news outlets.
HuffPost and other outlets initially reported on Friday that Heche had died. Her family and friends later clarified to CNN and NBC News that she was on life support while they determine if she’s a match for organ donation.
A family statement reads: “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. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
A spokesperson for Heche told NBC News that Heche remained on life support.
“While Anne is legally dead according to California law, her heart is still beating, and she has not been taken off life support so that One Legacy can see if she is a match for organ donation,” Heche’s spokesperson, who is not named in the story, told the outlet.
Her friend, Nancy Davis, first revealed the news in a memorial post on Instagram, writing: “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.”
Heche was severely burned when she crashed into a Los Angeles home in the Mar Vista neighborhood on Aug. 5. Shortly after the crash, her car burst into flames, which took firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish, according to NBC News.
She was taken to a hospital and initially listed in critical condition, then she reportedly fell into a coma Aug. 8.
After Heche’s accident, the Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation into the actor for allegedly driving under the influence and fleeing from an earlier hit-and-run, the Los Angeles Times reported. Police confirmed to the Times that they obtained a search warrant to test the actor’s blood alcohol level.
LAPD confirmed to TMZ on Aug. 11 that Heche had cocaine in her system during the accident.
“In preliminary testing, the blood draw revealed the presence of drugs,” the LAPD statement said. “The case is being investigated as felony DUI traffic collision.”
In her 2001 memoir, “Call Me Crazy,” Heche discussed her traumatic upbringing and the mental health issues that arose in her adult years.
“I’m not crazy,” she told Barbara Walters during an interview with ABC News. “But it’s a crazy life. I was raised in a crazy family, and it took 31 years to get the crazy out of me.”
Heche’s acting career began in 1987 when she starred in the long-running soap opera “Another World.” In 1991, she won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama series for the show. She has appeared in numerous movies, including the 1996 film “The Juror,” the 1997 horror film “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” 1998′s “Six Days Seven Nights,” 1997′s Donnie Brasco” and the 2002 thriller “John Q.”
The actor dated comedian and television host Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000. She was married to cameraman Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2007. Heche was also in a relationship with actor James Tupper from 2008 to 2018. She is survived by her two sons: 20-year-old Homer Laffoon, whose father is Coleman Laffoon, and 13-year-old Atlas, whose father is James Tupper.
This article has been updated to reflect that Heche remains on life support for purposes of potential organ donation, according to statements from a spokesperson and from friends and family.
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