Actor Anne Heche has died at the age of 53.
The Another World star was involved in a car accident last Friday (5 August), which resulted in her being taken to hospital and treated for severe burns.
She later slipped into a coma and was in a “critical condition”, her representatives told the media.
Heche’s family told press earlier today (12 August) that she had suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury” and was “not expected to survive” the accident.
Now, they have confirmed that she is brain dead, however, she is being kept on life support while a match can be found for organ donation. “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,” a rep for Heche said, via Deadline.
They add that according to sources, Heche will be taken off her ventilator in the next 24 or so hours.
Heche was best known for her role in 1997’s gangster drama Donnie Brasco, also appearing in films such as Wag the Dog, Volcano and horror hit I Know What You Did Last Summer.
In the statement Heche’s family wrote: “It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable. 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,” the statement concluded.
In an emotional Instagram post, philanthropist Nancy Davis, a close friend of Heche’s, paid tribute to the actor.
“Heaven has a new Angel,” she wrote. “My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend @anneheche went to heaven. I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared.”
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told the Associated Press that car crash was being investigated as a felony driving-under-the-influence (DUI) traffic collision.
Detectives with a search warrant took a sample of Heche’s blood and found narcotics in her system, LAPD spokesman officer Jeff Lee told the news agency.
But toxicology tests that can take weeks to complete, AP reported, must be performed to identify the drugs more clearly, and to differentiate them from any medication she may have been given for treatment at the hospital.
On Thursday (11 August), an LAPD source cited by TMZ claimed there was cocaine and fentanyl in Heche’s system. The TMZ report stated that law enforement officials tested Heche’s blood after she was admitted to hospital, which means the fentanyl could have been in her system if it was prescribed as pain medication after the accident.
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