Hollywood actress Anne Heche has died at age 53, a rep for Heche‘s family confirmed the news to TMZ in a statement saying: “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.” The Emmy nominee was in a coma after sustaining severe injuries from a car crash in Los Angeles last Friday, August 5. Heche was spotted by a camera speeding past a neighborhood moments before the crash, in which the car was driven 30 feet inside a two-story house. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the car “erupted in heavy fire” shortly after the crash.
Heche was taken to the hospital in critical condition, sustaining severe brain and pulmonary injuries that forced the medical team to put her on a ventilator and then life support. Earlier this week, Heche’s family and friends released a statement in which they announced the actress was “not expected to survive”, but that “it has long been her choice to donate her organs, and she [was] being kept on life support to determine if any are viable.”
Heche gained international fame in the 90s, a period in which she starred in high-profile and acclaimed movies such as Six Days, Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Wag the Dog. On TV, Heche starred in series like Ally McBeal, Hung, Men in Trees, and did voice work for the highly popular animated series Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Recently, she had recurring roles on Chicago P.D. and OWN’s All Rise.
Also during the 90s, she defied social norms – and Hollywood standards – by announcing she was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. Heche kept the relationship very public, something that’s daring for a Hollywood superstar even by today’s standards. She guest starred in DeGeneres’ series Ellen, and the couple broke up in 2000. Heche was a vocal advocate for gay marriage, and also very blunt about the issues in her life: In her autobiography Call Me Crazy, the actress spoke openly about her struggles with mental health and about being a victim of abuse.
Heche has a slate of projects that are set to come out posthumously, including horror movie Chasing Nightmares and mystery thriller What Remains, as well as HBO Max series The Idol, created by singer-songwriter The Weeknd and starring Lily-Rose Depp, Troye Sivan, Debby Ryan, Rachel Sennot, and BLACKPINK’s Jennie. The series is yet to get a release date.
Heche was 53 years old. She is survived by her parents and her two kids.