Anne Heche Dead at 53 Following Car Crash
One week after a car crash that set fire to a home and left her critically injured and in a coma, actress Anne Heche has died at age 53, according to reports.
"Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend," a representative for Heche told PEOPLE Friday (Aug. 12).
Speaking to PEOPLE, Heche's son Homer confirmed the news. He shared in a statement:
"My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.
Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time.
Rest In Peace Mom, I love you."
Late Thursday evening (Aug. 11), Heche's family announced in a statement that the actress was "not expected to survive" after sustaining a brain injury in the accident. The statement revealed she was being kept on life support in order to determine if her organs could be donated.
The crash took place in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles last Friday (Aug. 5). According to a neighbor, Heche drove her vehicle "almost all the way through" a house, which "almost immediately" caught fire.
A GoFundMe was set up to help the victim who lost their home in the crash.
Prior to hitting the house, Heche's car allegedly ran into an apartment complex garage before running a stop sign and driving through some large bushes and ultimately crashing into the residential home.
Firefighters at the scene said Heche was talking as they transported her from the wreckage to an ambulance. A viral video that circulated after the accident showed a person, believed to be Heche, moving on a stretcher as it was being loaded into the emergency vehicle.
The actress, known for roles in movies such as Donnie Brasco (1997) and Volcano (1997), was initially reported as being in "stable" condition by her publicist. Later, her status was updated to "extreme critical condition" after she slipped into a coma.
Heche rose to prominence in the early 1990s, playing twins on the soap opera Another World. After her first major role in Donnie Brasco opposite Johnny Depp, she starred in Wag the Dog (1998) and iconic slasher I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).
The actress had a high-profile relationship with Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000. Heche was previously married to Coleman "Coley" Laffoon, with whom she had one son, and she also had a longtime relationship with James Tupper, with whom she had her youngest son.
In her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy, Heche wrote that she was "insane" for 31 years of her life due to childhood abuse. Heche had a complicated and estranged relationship with her mother.
As the youngest of five children, Heche's family moved 11 times before her father died of AIDS when she was 13. She alleged in her memoir that her father abused her when she was a young girl, leading her to contract genital herpes as a small child. Some members of her family disputed the claims.
Heche's brother Nathan also died in a car crash, which a sister claimed was suicide.
Most recently, Heche played infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's mother in the 2017 film My Friend Dahmer, and was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2020.
Heche is survived by her sons Homer Laffoon, 20, and Atlas Tupper, 13.