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Actress Anne Heche, who drove her car into a home in Los Angeles last week, is unlikely to survive injuries she sustained in the collision and subsequent vehicle fire, her family said in a statement through a representative on Thursday evening.
“Unfortunately, as a result of her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma in critical condition,” read the statement, shared with the Washington Post. “She is not expected to survive.”
The statement added that Heche is being kept on life support to determine if any of her organs can be donated. The rep told the Post that Heche was “brain dead.”
“Anne had a big 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 – specifically moving the needle to accept who you love,” the statement added. “She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and will be greatly missed for her light.”
Heche, 53, was hospitalized last Friday after driving her Mini Cooper into a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, causing the vehicle and home to burst into flames. It took nearly 60 firefighters more than an hour to extinguish the fire. Police are investigating the possibility that Heche was driving under the influence of alcohol.
An initial test of Heche’s blood revealed narcotics in her system, Officer Tony Im, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, told The Post. However, a second test will be conducted to determine if those substances were present as a result of their medical treatment, he added.
Heche rose to fame after appearing in the soap opera Another World from the 1980s. She later starred in films such as Donnie Brasco, Six Days, Seven Nights, and Volcano, and was best known for her three-and-a-half-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Before last Friday morning’s crash, Heche had bought a wig at a salon whose owner told the Los Angeles Times she was in a good mood and didn’t appear drunk. TMZ reported that Heche crashed into an apartment garage before driving down the street, citing untimestamped video. Surveillance footage from another home showed a blue Mini Cooper speeding through a residential street minutes before the accident.
Heche was pulled from the car with severe burns, the Times reported. A representative told news outlets days later that the actress had slipped into a coma.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched for the resident of the home, who, according to the fundraiser’s statement, “very narrowly escaped physical injury” but lost many of her belongings.
In their statement Thursday night, Heche’s family thanked the staff at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, as well as “everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery.”