WEST HILLS — After a week of hospitalization following a bizarre crash into a Mar Vista home, Anne Heche was declared brain dead at Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, her family announced Friday, although the actress was kept on life support so her organs could be harvested for donation.
A family representative told Rolling Stone and other media outlets that Heche, 53, was officially declared brain dead Thursday night. Her death came about a week after the actress crashed her blue Mini Cooper into a home in the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue around 11 a.m. last Friday, Aug. 5. The house was largely destroyed in the ensuing fire.
The family announced earlier Thursday night that Heche was not expected to survive her injuries. Hours earlier, a Los Angeles Police Department officer told City News Service blood tests on Heche following the crash showed the presence of “narcotics,” but more tests would be needed to rule out substances that may have been administered at a hospital following Friday’s crash.
A “felony DUI investigation” was being conducted, Officer Annie Hernandez said.
The blood tests showed that Heche was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, Hernandez said.
TMZ reported that the tests showed Heche “was under the influence of cocaine … this according to law enforcement sources, and possibly fentanyl as well,” but it was unclear if the fentanyl was already in her system or was the result of medications administered at the hospital.
Tributes began pouring in for the actress Friday. Ellen DeGeneres —with whom Heche had a high-profile relationship from March 1997 until they broke up in August 2000 — wrote on Twitter Friday morning, “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
Actor James Tupper, who had a son with Heche, posted a photo of her on Instagram and wrote simply, “Love you forever.” Tupper and Heche co-starred in “Men in Trees,” which aired on ABC from 2006-2008.
Close friend Nancy Davis wrote on Instagram, “Heaven has a new Angel.”
“My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend (Heche) went to heaven,” she wrote. “I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared. Ann was always the kindest, most thoughtful person who always brought out the best in me. She was so supportive with anything she could do to help @racetoerasems and would always say yes when she knew she could contribute something with her time, talent and creative genius to help find a cure for MS. My heart is broken.”
Heche rose to fame on the soap opera “Another World,” where she played the dual role of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love from 1987 to 1991 and won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance.
She also had roles in films including “Donnie Brasco,” “Six Days, Seven Nights,” “Wag the Dog,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and director Gus Van Sant’s remake of “Psycho.”
Heche also appeared on television series including “Ally McBeal,” “Chicago P.D.” and a recurring role on the CBS courtroom drama “All Rise.” In June, she signed on to star in Lifetime’s “Girl in Room 13,” which is set to premiere this fall.
The Ohio native also had a 20-year-old son, Homer Heche Laffoon, with ex-husband Coleman ‘Coley’ Laffoon.
The bizarre series of events that led to her death began earlier the morning of Aug. 5. TMZ obtained video showing Heche involved in a minor collision at a Mar Vista-area apartment complex, crashing into a wall in a parking area, then driving away as people nearby tried to help. The crash into the home occurred a short time later.
Surveillance video posted on social media showed her car speeding down the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue, a residential street near Palms Boulevard, just prior to the crash, which sent Heche’s blue Mini Cooper completely into the home.
The vehicle “struck and came to rest well within a 738-square-foot two-story home, built in 1952, causing structural compromise and erupting in heavy fire prior to LAFD arrival,” said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure, and rescue one female adult found within the vehicle,” Humphrey said.
No other injuries were reported.