Anne Heche: actress, 53, ‘taken off life support’ nine days after suffering brain injury in LA car crash

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The star of Donnie Brasco and the remake of Pyscho suffered burns and a brain injury after crashing her car into a house on 5 August

Hollywood actress Anne Heche has been “peacefully taken off life support” nine days after suffering a “severe anoxic brain injury” in a car crash.

A representative for the 53-year-old star confirmed her death on Sunday night (15 August).

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Heche had been in hospital since she was severely injured when she crashed her car into a house in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on 5 August.

She suffered burns and a brain injury and had been classified as “legally dead according to California law” after the crash, but kept on life support in case her organs could be donated. The assessment took nine days.

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What happened?

Pictures and video footage obtained by US media outlet TMZ following the incident showed Heche driving a blue Mini Cooper, and this car was later pictured severely damaged at the scene.

The vehicle struck a two-storey home and “erupted in heavy fire” according to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

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Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the flames within the heavily damaged structure, according to an LAFD report.

Heche sustained a “significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation” and “burns that require surgical intervention”.

What did the LAPD say about Heche’s death?

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) previously confirmed that the crash was being investigated as a felony driving-under-the-influence (DUI) traffic collision after preliminary blood tests revealed the presence of drugs in Heche’s system.

However, additional testing was required to rule out substances administered in the hospital.

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Earlier on Sunday, the LAPD had concluded their investigation into Heche’s serious car crash.

The police said in a statement: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case.

“Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case.

“When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.”

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What has her family said?

Heche’s family shared a statement saying she was “not expected to survive” her injuries and that she was being temporarily kept on life support – presumably while the assessment for organ donation took place.

The statement said: “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 Centre at West Hills hospital.

“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.

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

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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.”

Who was Anne Heche?

The actress earned recognition portraying twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love on the US soap opera Another World from 1985 to 1991 which won her a Daytime Emmy Award.

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She rose to prominence in the late 1990s with roles in the crime drama film Donnie Brasco, alongside Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, the slasher movie I Know What You Did Last Summer and action comedy film Six Days, Seven Nights among others. She also starred in the 1998 remake of Psycho.

She is the former partner of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres – the pair began dating in 1997 before separating in 2000.

Heche later suggested their public relationship had led to her being blacklisted professionally, describing herself as “patient zero in cancel culture”.

As well as film roles, Heche appeared in multiple US television series including Men In Trees, Save Me and military drama television series The Brave.

In 2020 she was a contestant in the 29th season of Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing, but was eliminated in the third round.

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