Anne Heche dies aged 53 after horrific car crash

The US actress was in hospital in Los Angeles having sustained major injuries that left her in a coma

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Actress Anne Heche has died, aged 53.

The award-winning US star died of brain injuries sustained in a car crash in Los Angeles last week, which left her in a coma.

The news was reported by British newspapers and a family friend's Instagram post, following Heche's placement on life support to determine whether her organs would be viable for donation.

"Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” Heche's family said on Friday.

“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."

Heche’s son, Homer Laffoon, also released a statement of his own, saying: “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.”

Heche was taken to hospital on August 5 after a collision that left her vehicle "engulfed in flames".

The actress, who was known for films such as Donnie Brasco (1997), Wag the Dog (1998) and Cedar Rapids (2011), was driving her blue Mini Cooper when she veered off the road and struck a two-storey home.

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, 59 firefighters took more than an hour to remove Heche from the wreckage and extinguish the flames.

The occupant of the home Heche crashed into escaped without injury.

The fatal incident came after a minor car accident Heche sustained earlier that day. According to TMZ, she crashed into a wall in the parking area of an apartment complex in Mar Vista, but drove away from the scene.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating whether or not Heche was under the influence of drugs while behind the wheel.

The news marks a tragic end to the actresses acclaimed 35-year career.

After participating in high-school plays, Heche landed her first role in 1987 as part of the soap opera As the World Turns.

Her work on the series earned her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991 and unlocked further high-profile opportunities, including a role alongside Elijah Wood in 1993's The Adventures of Huck Finn, as well as a part in 1995's Emmy-nominated television movie Kingfish: A Story of Huey P Long.

Heche went on to notch up a string of solid performances in successful films including 1997's disaster flick Volcano and slasher-comedy I Know What You Did Last Summer.

That momentum culminated with Heche landing her first starring roles in 1998: in the action-adventure Six Days, Seven Nights alongside Harrison Ford, followed by her controversial take on the character Marion in director Gus Van Sant's divisive remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Psycho.

While occasionally took on supporting roles in big-budget films, such as John Q (2002) and The Other Guys (2010), Heche spent the remainder of her career largely working on independent films and television dramas.

For the latter, she played the series lead in a number of relatively short-lived dramas such as Men in Trees (2006-2008), Girl Fight (2011) and 2016's Aftermath.

Her last reported role was to be in the coming HBO drama The Idol, for which Canadian pop star The Weeknd is executive producer. A trailer for the series was released on YouTube last month.

Heche is survived by two sons, Homer Laffoon and Atlas Heche Tupper, from previous marriages to former television cameraman Coleman Laffoon and her Men in Trees co-star James Tupper.

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Updated: August 13, 2022, 6:30 AM