Anne Heche, star of “Six Days, Seven Nights” and Emmy winner for the NBC soap opera “Another World,” has “been peacefully taken off life support,” a spokesperson for the family said in a brief statement Sunday night. The actress was taken off life support Sunday after sustaining catastrophic injuries in a fiery car crash on Aug. 5. Her desire for her to donate her organs is being fulfilled, as matches have been found. She was 53.
On Aug. 5, Heche crashed her Mini Cooper into an apartment complex garage, sped away when residents tried to help and then crashed into a nearby home, setting off a destructive fire that required a dramatic rescue and landed the “Six Days, Seven Nights “Actress in the hospital with severe burns. No one else was hurt, though the homeowner was in the backyard and later said she had been mildly injured.
Firefighters struggled to douse the flames for several excruciating minutes while Heche sat pinned in the charred and rumpled vehicle, which was finally yanked out by a giant LAFD crane. In a bizarre moment that played out on live TV, Heche sprang from her covering and restraints as firefighters loaded the gurney into an ambulance.
“At this time Anne is in extreme critical condition,” the actress’ rep said that afternoon. “She has a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention. She is in a coma and has not regained consciousness since shortly after the accident.”
Toxicology reports showed no alcohol in her system, but the presence of cocaine and potentially fentanyl. Representative said in a statement on Aug. 11 that Heche sustained a “severe” anoxic brain injury — which means she suffered a total lack of oxygen to her brain — and was being kept on life support while they determine whether any of her organs can be donated.
TMZ later reported that she was brain-dead, which is legally considered dead in California. A rep for Heche confirmed to TheWrap that she had no brain function Friday, but had no update as to whether she was still on life support.
Upon the announcement that Heche was brain dead, her son Homer posted a heartbreaking tribute to his mom, writing, “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.
Condolences immediately began to pour in, as she was being remembered by Ellen DeGeneres, Alec Baldwin, James Tupper and many, many others.
A donor was found and, on Sunday, Aug. 14, she was taken off life support.
She broke into acting when she was scouted for the soap opera “Another World” in which she played twins Marley and Vicky Hudson. Heche portrayed the identical twins’ very different personalities well enough to earn a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991.
She later moved into film with a debut in 1993’s “Ambush of Ghosts” followed by roles in “Donnie Brasco” (1997) alongside Johnny Depp. Next came roles in “Volcano,” “Wag the Dog” and “Six Days Seven Nights.”
The actress next took on “Return to Paradise” (1998) with Vince Vaughn, who also worked alongside in “Psycho” remade by Gus Van Zant. She earned a Tony nomination for her appearance by Ella in the 2004 revival of “Twentieth Century.”
Heche, who famously dated DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000, recounted tales of abuse and other childhood trauma in several interviews over the years. She released a memoir in 2003 titled “Call Me Crazy,” and is open about her history of personal troubles and mental health challenges.
Her father, who she says sexually abused her from infancy, died from HIV/AIDS in 1985. That same year, her 18-year-old brother died in a car accident that was ruled accidental, though Heche always maintained it was a suicide, which her stranded mother disputed.
In 2000, she drove from Los Angeles to a small town outside of Fresno, parked on the roadside and knocked on the door of a random home. The woman who answered recognized Heche, giving her water, a pair of slippers and letting her take a shower. When Heche settled into her living room and asked to watch a movie, the woman called police.
According to a police report, Heche told deputies she was “God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.” She was taken to a psychiatric unit in Fresno and released.
Her 2001 wedding to Coleman Laffoon led to a son Homer in 2002. The pair later split in 2009. She was married to actor James Tupper from 2007 to 2018, and the two had a son, Atlas, together.