Actress Anne Heche 'legally dead according to California law' but remains on life support to search for organ match
The US actress suffered 'severe anoxic brain injury' last week
Anne Heche remains on life support to see if she is a potential match for organ donation, her representative has confirmed.
The US actress is classified as “legally dead according to California law” after suffering a “severe anoxic brain injury” in a car crash last Friday.
The 53-year-old was taken to hospital following the crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles.
A representative of the actress told the PA news agency: “While Anne is legally dead according to California law, her heart is still beating, and she has not been taken off life support so that One Legacy (a national organ recovery organisation) can see if she is a match for organ donation.”
Following the update on her medical status, a statement on behalf of Heche’s family and friends said: “Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend.
“Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy.
“Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
Her family had previously said it had “long been her choice to donate her organs”.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) previously confirmed to PA that the crash was being investigated as a felony driving-under-the-influence (DUI) traffic collision.
An LAPD spokesman said preliminary blood tests had revealed the presence of drugs in Heche’s system, but added that additional testing was required to rule out any substances that were administered in the hospital.
On Friday, a statement shared with PA on behalf of her family said the actress was “not expected to survive” the incident.
“We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital,” the statement read.
“Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive,” it added.
Heche is the former partner of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres – the pair began dating in 1997 before separating in 2000 – and is known for films including Donnie Brasco, Cedar Rapids and the 1998 Psycho remake.
Pictures and video footage obtained by US media outlet TMZ following the incident showed Ms Heche driving a blue Mini Cooper, which was later pictured severely damaged at the scene.
The vehicle struck a two-storey home and “erupted in heavy fire”, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).
Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the flames within the heavily damaged structure, according to an LAFD report.
Heche sustained a “significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation” and “burns that require surgical intervention”, a spokeswoman for the actress previously confirmed to PA.