Anne Heche Declared Brain Dead, Says Rep

Actor remains on life support only for her organs
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 2:09 PM CDT
Anne Heche Declared Brain Dead, Says Rep
Anne Heche arrives at the 74th annual Directors Guild of America Awards on March 12, 2022, in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Sad, if expected, news about Anne Heche: A family representative tells TMZ and People that she has been declared brain dead and is thus legally dead in the eyes of California. Though she meets that legal definition, Heche remains on life support, with her heart still beating, solely so her organs can be donated. "Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend," the rep says in a statement on behalf of the actor's family and friends. The 53-year-old never regained consciousness after a fiery car crash in Los Angeles last week. On Thursday night, her family had said Heche suffered a "severe anoxic brain injury" caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and was not expected to survive.

“She was declared brain dead last night but has been kept on life support for organ donation,” representative Holly Baird confirms to the Los Angeles Times. Police say they found narcotics in the actor's blood after the crash, though more detailed tests were pending to differentiate those drugs from any medication she might have been taking, per the AP. Heche's car crashed into a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood while traveling at a high rate of speed.

Heche got her acting start in the early 1990s on the soap opera Another World, and turned into one of Hollywood's biggest stars by the end of that decade. Her films of that era included Donnie Brasco (with Johnny Depp) and Six Days, Seven Nights (with Harrison Ford). More recently, she had roles on the TV series Chicago P.D. and All Rise, per the Guardian. She also famously dated Ellen DeGeneres for a few years in the late 1990s. In a 2001 memoir, Heche wrote frankly about her mental health struggles. (Read more Anne Heche stories.)

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