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Anne Heche 'Legally Dead' After Suffering Severe Brain Injury As A Result Of Crash, Rep Says
Anne Heche has been declared brain dead, but remains on life support as her family determines whether any of her organs are viable for donation.
Anne Heche is brain dead following a fiery car crash in Los Angeles last week, according to her representative.
"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," the statement provided by a spokesperson to NBC News reads.
Heche had suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury,” Heche’s rep previously said in a statement to People on behalf of Heche’s family, adding that she was in a coma. “She is not expected to survive.”
Her rep had said earlier this week that Heche “became unconscious” and slipped into a coma shortly after last week's crash, according to KABC. Anoxic injuries happen when a brain is cut off from oxygen, causing cell death.
“We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend," a statement made Friday on behalf of Heche's family and friends read, according to NBC News. "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."
The family has been keeping Heche on life support at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital while they determine whether any of her organs are viable for donation given her other injuries — something that had “long been her choice” to do, her rep said.
“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit,” a previous statement from the rep read. “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.”
Heche crashed her car on Aug. 5 into a Los Angeles home.
“The vehicle was driving at a high rate of speed, entered an intersection and ran off the road and collided with the residence,” Los Angeles Police Officer Annie Hernandez told Oxygen.com Monday.
The vehicle was quickly engulfed in flames, and it took 59 firefighters 65 minutes to access the “heavily damaged structure,” pull Heche from the wreckage and put out the flames, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Though the structure has been destroyed, the resident and her pets were all rescued before the fire engulfed the building.
Los Angeles Police said blood tests revealed that drugs had been in the 53-year-old’s system at the time of the crash.
“Based on the blood work, it revealed the presence of narcotics,” Los Angeles Police Officer Lizeth Lomeli told Deadline.
Lomeli went on to add that “additional testing” was required to rule out any substances that had been administered my medical professionals in the aftermath of the crash.
Police had been investigating the incident as a felony DUI. It’s not clear what her grim prognosis will mean for the investigation.
Oxygen.com reached out to police but did not receive an immediate response.
Heche’s 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon — who she shares with ex-husband Coleman Laffoon — was spotted outside her hospital Monday, according to Fox News. He was seen hugging Heather Duffy, Heche’s close friend and co-host of the podcast "Better Together with Anne Heche and Heather Duffy."
Heche also has a 13-year-old son Atlas, who she shares with actor James Tupper. Tupper took to Instagram earlier this week to show his support to Heche, sharing a photo of Atlas and the actress together.
“Thoughts and prayers for this lovely woman, actress and mother tonight,” he wrote, along with a broken heart emoji.
Heche first broke out as an actor on the soap opera “Another World,” in which she starred in from 1987 to 1991. Heche portrayed twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love and earned a Daytime Emmy Award for her work.
She later went on to star in various movies including “Six Days Seven Nights,” “Wag the Dog” and “Donnie Brasco." She's also appeared on television series including “Chicago P.D.,” “The Brave” and “Aftermath.”
Heche also shined a light on same-sex relationships in the late 1990s when she openly dated comedian Ellen DeGeneres for three and a half years.