The Donnie Brasco and Psycho remake star suffered burns and a brain injury after her car crashed into a house on August 5
Hollywood actress Anne Heche was “peacefully taken off life support” nine days after suffering “severe anoxic brain injury” in a car accident.
A representative for the 53-year-old star confirmed her death on Sunday evening (August 15).
Heche has been in the hospital since she was seriously injured when her car drove into a home in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on August 5.
She suffered burns and a brain injury and had been ruled “legally dead under California law” after the crash, but remained on life support in case her organs could be donated. The evaluation lasted nine days.
Pictures and video footage obtained by US media agency TMZ after the incident showed Heche at the wheel of a blue Mini Cooper, and that car was later pictured at the scene with severe damage.
The vehicle struck a two-story house and “erupted in a severe fire,” according to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).
It took 59 firefighters 65 minutes to reach, contain and completely extinguish the flames inside the badly damaged structure, according to an LAFD report.
Heche suffered a “substantial lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation” and “burns requiring surgical intervention.”
What did the LAPD say about Heche’s death?
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) previously confirmed the accident was being investigated as a traffic accident while under the influence (DUI) after preliminary blood tests revealed the presence of drugs in Heche’s system.
However, additional testing was required to rule out hospital-administered substances.
Earlier Sunday, LAPD had completed its investigation into Heche’s fatal car accident.
Police said in a statement: “As of today, no further investigative efforts are being made in this case.
“Any information or records requested prior to this turn of events will continue to be collected for the sake of formality as it arrives and will be included in the overall case.
“If a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present them for examination.”
What did her family say?
Heche’s family released a statement saying she “would not survive” her injuries and that she was being kept alive temporarily – presumably while the organ donation evaluation was taking place.
The statement said: “We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and to thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses who looked after Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital.
“Unfortunately, as a result of her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and is in a critically comatose state. She is not expected to survive.
“It has long been her decision to donate her organs and she is being kept alive to determine if any are viable.”
The statement added: “Anne had a big heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit.
“More than her extraordinary talent, she saw her life’s work in spreading kindness and joy — specifically, moving the needle to accepting who you love.
“She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and will be greatly missed for her light.”
Who was Anne Heche?
The actress earned recognition as twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love on the US soap opera Another World from 1985 to 1991, which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award.
She rose to fame in the late 1990s with roles in the crime drama Donnie Brasco opposite Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, the slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the action comedy film Six Days, Seven Nights. She also starred in the 1998 remake of Psycho.
She is the former partner of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres – the couple began dating in 1997 before splitting in 2000.
Heche later suggested that her public relationship led to her being professionally blacklisted and described herself as “patient zero in the dropout culture.”
In addition to film roles, Heche has appeared in several US television series, including Men In Trees, Save Me, and the military drama television series The Brave.
In 2020, she was a contestant on season 29 of Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing, but was eliminated in the third round.