Unfortunately, Anne Heche suffered catastrophic injuries after driving her vehicle into an apartment building on Aug. 5 and setting the building on fire, the New York Times reported. She was hospitalized at the Grossman Burn Center in LA, where she was put on a ventilator, according to the New York Post. For days there was hope that the actress would pull through, but on August 12 she was pronounced dead.
Heche is survived by two sons from their respective relationships with Coley Laffoon and James Tupper: Homer, 20, and Atlas, 13. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I’m left with a deep, wordless sadness,” Homer said in a statement, per Today. “Hopefully my mom is pain free and starts exploring what I like to envision as her eternal freedom.”
Heche’s heart kept beating so her organs could be removed, and after one of her last wishes was granted, the coroner revealed her official manner of death.
Anne Heche’s death was a tragic accident
The Los Angeles County coroner determined that Anne Heche’s death was an accident, according to People. Factors contributing to her death included smoke inhalation, injuries from vehicle fire, and a chest injury described as a “fractured sternum from blunt trauma.” A representative of the actor’s family previously explained that she also “suffered a serious anoxic brain injury,” according to The Washington Post.
“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit,” her family said in a statement. “More than her extraordinary talent, she saw it as her life’s work to spread kindness and joy — specifically, moving the needle to accept who you love.” Per People, her latest act of generosity helped at least one person in need of organ donation , but details about the recipient were not disclosed. Heche’s gift was recognized with an Honor Walk, during which hospital staff gather to watch in silence as an organ donor is transported to the operating room, according to Us Weekly.
According to Radar, sources have indicated that Heche’s funeral will take place within a week. “It’s just close family and friends,” the outlet was reportedly informed. “It will be small and private.” An insider also claimed that Heche’s ex, Ellen DeGeneres, will not be asked to attend.
Why one of the last people to see Anne Heche alive is defending himself
While Anne Heche was still in a coma, police sources told TMZ that their preliminary tests had found cocaine and traces of fentanyl in her blood, but said it was possible the latter had been administered at the hospital to alleviate Heche’s pain alleviate. The actor was being investigated on a possible DUI charge, but after she was pronounced dead, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that they had dropped their investigation. In a statement to NBC News, the department said, “When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present them for examination.”
However, a man who interacted with Heche shortly before her death will be tried in the court of public opinion. According to the Los Angeles Times, Heche stopped by the Glass Hair Design Salon in Venice shortly before her fatal crash and bought a scarlet wig. Owner Richard Glass said she appeared unaffected.
After Heche died, an emotional Glass told TMZ that some social media users suggested he gave the actor the drugs found in their system, which he vehemently denied. “I just feel a huge regret,” he said. “And I don’t feel like I’ve done everything I should to keep her here.”
Anne Heche’s brother also died in a car accident
Anne Heche’s brother Nate Heche was just 18 years old when he died in a car accident. According to his 1983 obituary on the Noble County Indiana Library website, he fell into a tree after falling asleep. Per Vulture, Anne’s allegedly abusive father had died of AIDS just months earlier.
Heche spoke about the impact her brother’s death had on her life while appearing on Hollywood Medium in 2019, and she also mentioned her devoutly religious mother, Nancy Heche, who described Anne’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in her book, The Truth. Comes out: When someone you love is in a same-sex relationship.” Nancy wrote, “Anne’s newfound lesbian love affair is like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: we will never associate with homosexuals.”
Speaking to medium Tyler Henry, Anne said she left her family’s home in New Jersey because of the tragic death of her brother, which she believed was a possible suicide, according to Vulture. “Something extraordinary had to happen to pull me out of what would certainly be my death if I continued to live with my mother,” Heche told Henry.