Actor Anne Heche, best known for Six Days Seven Nights, Ally McBeal, and Hung, has been declared legally dead, aged 53.
She remains on life support and under evaluation for organ donation. Under current California law, death can be determined by the loss of all brain function and in accordance with accepted medical standards.
“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” her family and friends said in a statement. “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.”
“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” Heche’s son Homer Laffoon said in a statement. “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. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest in peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”
A week ago her car burst into flames when it smashed into a house in West Los Angeles.
Detectives with a search warrant took a sample of her blood and found narcotics in her system, but toxicology reports are yet to be completed. Evidence is still being gathered from the crash, police said, and they would present a case to prosecutors if it is warranted when the investigation is complete.
Heche first came to prominence on the soap opera Another World from 1987 to 1991.
In 1997, she played opposite Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco, and Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano. She starred with Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights plus Return to Paradise, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Wag the Dog, The Vanished, 13 Minutes.
Her other TV credits include Hung, Ally McBeal, Everwood, Men in Trees, The Michael J. Fox Show, All Rise, Nip / Tuck, Save Me, Dig, Aftermath, The Brave, Quantico, Chiacgo PD, and Blackout.
Heche is also well remembered for her profile relationship with Ellen DeGeneres at a time when queer partnerships were considered box office poison, but she defied studio advice to keep her personal life private. Shortly after the pair’s 2000 breakup, Heche’s mental health made news when she was briefly hospitalised after showing up at a stranger’s home disoriented.
DeGeneres was among many of Heche’s Hollywood friends to pay tribute to the actress.
“This is a sad day,” she wrote. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
Heche remains on life support so that the non-profit organisation OneLegacy could determine if she could be a donor, spokeswoman Holly Baird said in a statement.
“It has long been her choice to donate her organs,” said a statement from her family and friends issued on Thursday.
Source: Variety, ABC
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