Anne Heche’s family and friends had been hoping for a miracle following the Emmy-winning actor’s horrific car crash last Friday. It didn’t come, and her closest ones are making the difficult decision to take her off life support after she was pronounced brain dead. She is being kept on a ventilator until it’s determined whether any organs not damaged in the crash and subsequent fire can be donated.
“We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital,” a rep for Heche’s family and friends told Deadline.
“Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive.
“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.”
There are plans for Heche to get Honor Walk, a hero’s goodbye donor patients receive by hospital staff as they are wheeled into the operating room in their final journey.
Heche had been hospitalized since Friday, Aug. 5, when the car she was driving crashed into a house and caught fire in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles. (The house’s owner and her pet were able to evacuate.)
Fifty-nine firefighters battled the blaze, which had engulfed both Heche’s car and the house, for 65 minutes until she could be safely pulled out of the wreckage. Heche was reportedly able to communicate at the time of her rescue but lost consciousness shortly thereafter and never regained it. She has been in a coma ever since.
On Monday, Aug. 8, Heche’s was described as being in “extreme critical condition.”
“She has a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention,” a rep for the actor said at the time.
There had been a lot of speculation about Heche’s condition before the crash as she was filmed driving erratically and speeding in the minutes prior to the accident, including getting into another, minor car accident, blocks from the crash site. A blood test was performed after Heche was taken to the hospital.
“Based on the blood work, it revealed the presence of narcotics,” Officer Lizeth Lomeli of the LAPD told Deadline on Wednesday, Aug. 11.
Heche had recently wrapped filming Lifetime movie Girl In Room 13, which explores the dark underworld of the $150-billion-dollar human trafficking industry. Amy Winter, executive VP and head of programming for Lifetime Networks addressed Heche’s accident Thursday during a panel for the film at the Television Critics Association virtual press tour. Winter said the film was still scheduled to premiere in September as planned.
“This project is important to Anne, along with each and every one of us,” Winter said.” We all sought to make a film that would bring attention to this appalling issue of human sex trafficking. We hope that this film reached you and that you are just as inspired as Anne was to help us with our mission to stop violence against women.”