After A Tragic Car Accident, Actor Anne Heche Is Legally Dead At 53

The actor Anne Heche has been declared brain-dead at the age of 53, her family confirmed earlier today. “Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” read a statement shared with multiple outlets on behalf of Heche’s family and friends. “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.” While Heche is now legally dead in the state of California, she remains on life support while her family awaits news of potential matches for organ donations.

The news comes after Heche was involved in a devastating car crash on 5 August, driving into a home in the Mar Vista neighbourhood of Los Angeles and causing a fire that took emergency services more than an hour to extinguish. The owner of the home suffered only minor injuries, but the building was rendered uninhabitable by the fire and the majority of her possessions destroyed. Immediately following the crash, Heche was reportedly conscious and able to communicate, but her condition soon deteriorated. By 8 August, she had slipped into a coma.

Earlier this week, a representative for Heche described her as being in a critical condition. “She has a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention,” they explained. A warrant was obtained by the Los Angeles Police Department for a blood sample taken on the day of the crash as a result of Heche’s erratic driving, and on Wednesday, an officer confirmed that the blood work had revealed the presence of narcotics. On 11 August, Heche’s family released a statement saying that she was unlikely to survive and that they were in the process of determining whether any of her organs could be donated before making the difficult decision to remove her from life support.

Heche was born in 1969 in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest of five children. She had a troubled upbringing, which she described with candour in her 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy. The family was poor and moved regularly, and at the age of 13, Heche’s father died of AIDS, which she believed he contracted from a male partner. Heche has also described the extensive sexual abuse she suffered at her father’s hands, having been raped from an early age and contracting genital herpes as a result. After her brother, Nathan, was killed in a car crash at 18, Heche’s family moved to Chicago, where Heche was spotted by an agent in a school play. She subsequently auditioned for a role on the daytime soap opera Another World in New York, leaping at the opportunity to escape her difficult home life with her mother.

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