Anne Heche death: who was Donnie Brasco actress - anoxic brain injury after car crash, and family statement

The former partner of Ellen DeGeneres was hospitalised following a car crash in Los Angeles on 5 August and had been in a coma

Anne Heche has died at the age of 53 after she was taken off her life support following a car crash in Los Angeles.

The Hollywood actress suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury” and had been placed in a medically induced coma for injuries sustained as a result of the crash in the Mar Vista area of the US city on 5 August.

On Monday (15 August), her spokesperson confirmed she had been “peacefully taken off life support” just days after it was announced she had been pronounced as legally dead under California law.

So what happened to Anne Heche - and what was she best known for?

Anne Heche is reported to be critically injured (image: Getty Images)

Who was Anne Heche?

Anne Heche made her name in long-running US TV soap Another World between 1984 and 1992, for which she won an Emmy.

The series also boosted the careers of Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta and House of Cards actor Joanna Going.

Heche went on to have several prominent film roles in the late 1990s, including Donnie Brasco, Volcano, I know What You Did Last Summer and Six Days Seven Nights.

After these movies, she appeared in several TV shows - including Men in Trees, Hung, Aftermath and The Brave - and also took on roles in independent films.

The actor also moved into theatre, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2004 for her role in Broadway production Twentieth Century, where she starred opposite Alec Baldwin.

Anne Heche and Alec Baldwin are due to star alongside each other in an upcoming film (image: Getty Images)

Heche is due to appear with Baldwin again in a film called Supercell, which is currently in post-production.

She will also posthumously star in horror film Chasing Nightmares alongside Highlander actor Graham McTavish, as well as several TV series, including HBO show The Idol that features The Weeknd and Lily Rose-Depp.

In the late 1990s, Heche was in a relationship with prominent TV host Ellen DeGeneres - a romance that ended in a high-profile split in 2000.

Having come out at the premiere of disaster film volcano, she later claimed she had been blacklisted by Hollywood and described herself as “patient zero in cancel culture”.

Following her high-profile split, the actor married cameraman Coleman "Coley" Laffoon in 2001.

After that relationship ended in 2007, she became the long-term partner of Canadian actor James Tupper, who starred in Revenge and Big Little Lies.

The pair split in 2018.

Heche revealed in the 2001 that she suffered from mental health problems, which partly came about due to sexual abuse she says she was subjected to by her father when she was a child.

Anne Heche was in a long-term relationship with James Tupper until 2018 (image: Getty Images)

What happened to Anne Heche?

According to US showbiz news outlet TMZ, Anne Heche was involved in several car accidents in Los Angeles on 5 August.

The last of these incidents saw the car she was seen driving hit a home and burst into flames, it said.

Photographs and footage obtained by the news site appeared to show Heche in a blue Mini Cooper that was later shown to have sustained major damage.

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

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) subsequently confirmed to the PA news agency the incident was being investigated as a felony driving-under-the-influence (DUI) traffic collision.

An LAPD spokesman said preliminary blood tests had revealed the presence of drugs in Heche’s system, but added that additional testing was required to rule out any substances that were administered in the hospital.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) said: “Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure.

“One female adult [was] found within the vehicle, who has been taken to an area hospital by LAFD paramedics in critical condition.”

After Anne Heche’s death was confirmed, the LAPD said “no further investigative efforts” would be made into the crash.

What have her family said?

A statement shared with PA on behalf of her family before her death was confirmed said the actress had been temporarily kept on life support while in hopsital.

“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 read.

“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.”

Reports also say the home’s occupant escaped unscathed.

The fire department said the two-storey home had been left uninhabitable by the crash, and that the car had ploughed some 30ft into the residence.