Anne Heche, who starred in the films ‘Six Days, Seven Nights’, ‘Donnie Brasco’ and ‘Wag the Dog’, has been taken off life support following a fiery car crash earlier this month. She was 53.
“Anne Heche has been peacefully taken off life support,” a representative for her family told the media on Sunday, confirming her passing.
Heche crashed her car into a house in Los Angeles on August 5. According to a statement given by the actress’s family and friends to CNN, the car she was driving caught fire and she experienced a “severe anoxic brain injury,” which deprived her brain of oxygen. After the crash she was left on a ventilator with her heart beating so she could be evaluated for organ donation.
The actress was declared brain dead on Friday, when Heche’s family and friends released a joint statement with the words: “We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. 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 the cause of the crash is unknown, an LA police spokesman told the Washington Post that an initial blood test found narcotics in Heche’s system but noted that a full toxicology report was still pending to determine if any of the substances were related to medical treatments.
Heche first broke into the national spotlight after winning a Daytime Emmy award for her portrayal of twins Victoria ‘Vicky’ Carson and Marley Love in NBC’s soap ‘Another World’ between 1987 and 1991. She had several notable roles in the 1990s, appearing alongside Johnny Depp in ‘Donnie Brasco’, Harrison Ford in ‘Six Days, Seven Nights’, Tommy Lee Jones in ‘Volcano’ and Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro in ‘Wag the Dog’.
She also spent several years on Broadway, starring in the play ‘Proof’ from 2000 to 2002. Her performance was described by director James Gunn as “the best acting performance” he had seen in his life.
Heche also drew public attention when she started dating Ellen DeGeneres in 1997 shortly after DeGeneres came out as lesbian on her titular sitcom. Although they become one of the most famous same-sex couples in Hollywood, Heche has stated that the relationship cost her several roles and that she was “patient zero of cancel culture.” The pair split up in 2000 and Heche went on to have several marriages from which she had two sons.
Throughout her life, Heche had spoken openly about struggling with mental illness. In an interview with Larry King in 2001, she stated having felt “insane” for most of her life before finding “peace and balance.” In her 2001 memoir, ‘Call Me Crazy’, she described creating alter egos as a way to deal with her inner demons, which she says were caused by a troubled childhood growing up in a chaotic household and having suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father.