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Anne Heche legally dead at 53, but remains on life support according to family

Anne Heche has passed away at the age of 53.

Anne Heche wears a black gown at a red carpet event.
Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Update August 12, 2022, 12:41pm PT:

Though actor Anne Heche was declared brain dead earlier this week, she has not been taken off life support and her heart is still beating, Deadline reported, citing a statement from Heche’s representative, as of midday Friday. According to the rep’s statement,

“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 Deadline article also said “sources” confirmed, “Heche will be taken off the ventilator in the next 24 hours or so.”

“We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” the rep’s statement continued. “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.”

Original story:

Actor Anne Heche has passed away one week after becoming critically injured in a fiery car crash.

The 53-year-old Heche, known for her roles in films including Donnie Brasco, died soon after her family announced she would “be taken off life support,” according to The Guardian.

Heche is survived by two sons, and the news comes as especially heartbreaking for those who had early hopes she would pull through, as initial reports indicated she was in “stable condition” after colliding her vehicle into a Los Angeles home on August 5. Though the firefighters who cut her free from the wreckage and took her to the hospital indicated she had benn speaking to them at first, the actor subsequently lost consciousness on August 8.

Representatives for the actor soon indicated she was in critical condition and an announcement from the family soon followed on Friday, saying they did not expect her to survive.

Heche’s blue Mini Cooper’s collision with the Los Angeles home caused the car and the house “to go up in flames,” Yahoo Entertainment reported. After Heche failed to regain consciousness, she was placed on a ventilator. The family indicated she had been put on life support to “determine [whether] her choice to donate her organs” would be “viable.” The family’s statement continued,

“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.”

Following Heche’s breakout role in Donnie Brasco in 1997, the starred in a number of blockbuster films that are considered classics today, including Volcano, Wag the Dog, Gus Van Santa’s remake of Psycho, and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Heche also faced homophobic backlash in the 1990s for her relationship with comedian Ellen Degeneres, whom she dated for three years immediately after Degeneres went public with her sexual orientation. Heche would later thank Harrison Ford for continuing production with her for the film Six Days, Seven Nights, despite the backlash.

Heche has also had recent roles in critically acclaimed films, such as 2017’s biopic My Friend Dahmer, and 2016’s satirical Catfight.

Heche had been under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department for a felony DUI for the car crash, with the Hung star reportedly being under the influence of narcotics at the time. The homeowner of the house destroyed in the crash, Lynne Mishele, also suffered minor injuries.

Danny Peterson
About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'