Anne Heche’s heart being kept beating for organ donation assessment

Anne Heche 'legally' dead

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.

Anne Heche’s heart is being kept beating despite the actress being declared brain dead and legally dead so her organs can be kept functioning and harvested for donation.

A representative for the actress said while the actress is “legally dead according to California law”, she has not been taken off life support so medics can assess whether she is a match for those needing transplants.

Sources have been reported saying she will be taken off the ventilator in the next day.

Heche’s representative Holly Baird said on Friday in an email to the Los Angeles Times: “She was declared brain dead last night but has been kept on life support for organ donation.”

Heche, 53, is being kept on life support at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital while medical staffers determine whether any of her organs are viable for donation – which has apparently long been her wish.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.

Anne Heche has died days after being involved in a fiery car crash.

The actress, 53, had been in a coma following last week's wreck in Los Angeles when she crashed her Mini Cooper into a home, leaving her with major injuries, which included an anoxic brain injury.

Heche's close friend Nancy Davis, announced her death on Friday with the Instagram tribute: "Heaven has a new Angel. My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend @anneheche went to heaven.

"I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared. Anne 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 #heavenhasanewangel #heavenhasanotherangel."

She added broken heart emojis and an angel symbol to the post.

Heche's ex, talk show legend Ellen DeGeneres, also broke her silence on Friday, tweeting: "This is a sad day. I'm sending Anne's children, family and friends all of my love."

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ORIGINAL 6:55 a.m.

Anne Heche is on life support after suffering a brain injury in a fiery crash a week ago and her survival isn't expected, according to a statement from a representative.

The actor, who is in a coma and in critical condition, is being kept on life support for possible organ donation, according to the statement released Thursday night on behalf of her family and friends.

Heche, who's been hospitalized at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital north of Los Angeles, suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury,” the statement said. Such an injury is caused by a sustained lack of oxygen to the brain.

“She is not expected to survive,” the statement said. “It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable."

On the morning of Aug. 5, Heche’s car smashed into a house in a neighborhood in west Los Angeles and a fire erupted with the car embedded inside the home.

Earlier Thursday, police said they were investigating Heche for driving under the influence. Detectives with a search warrant took a sample of her blood and found narcotics in her system, LAPD spokesperson Officer Jeff Lee said.

Toxicology tests, which can take weeks to complete, must be performed to identify the drugs more clearly and to differentiate them from any medication she may have been given for treatment at the hospital.

Evidence is still being gathered from the crash, police said, and they would present a case to prosecutors if it is warranted when the investigation is complete.

A representative for Heche declined comment on the investigation.

On Tuesday, Heche spokesperson Heather Duffy Boylston said she had been in a coma since after the accident, with burns that required surgery and lung injuries that required the use of a ventilator to breathe.

“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,” Thursday's statement said. “She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”

Heche, 53, was among the most prominent film stars in Hollywood in the late 1990s, playing opposite actors including Johnny Depp (“Donnie Brasco”) and Harrison Ford (“Six Days, Seven Nights”). In a 2001 memoir, she discussed her lifelong struggles with mental health.

She recently had recurring roles on the network TV series “Chicago P.D.” and “All Rise,” and in 2020 was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars.”

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