Hollywood actor Anne Heche is “not expected to survive” the brain injury she sustained in a car crash last Friday, according to her publicist.
The 53-year-old’s vehicle “smashed into a house in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles’ westside” on 5 August, said USA Today. “Flames erupted, and Heche, who was alone in the car, was pulled by firefighters from the vehicle embedded in the house.”
She suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury” and remains in a coma and in a critical condition.
Law enforcement sources reportedly told TMZ she had been “under the influence of cocaine” and “possibly fentanyl”.
However, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said only that narcotics were found in her system. Toxicology tests are needed to identify the drugs more clearly and differentiate them from any treatment she was given in hospital, said USA Today.
The Hollywood Reporter said Heche was being “kept on life support to determine if her organs are viable for donation”, something her publicist said had “long” been her choice.
Thanking staff at the West Hills hospital, the statement honoured the actor’s “huge heart”. Heche, it said, “saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work – especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love”.
The actor found success in the 1990s with films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Volcano and Six Days, Seven Nights. In 1991 she also won a Daytime Emmy Award for her role in Another World, an NBC soap opera.
For a brief period Heche dated talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The pair caused a stir at the Volcano premiere in 1997, when Heche defied the studio’s orders and brought DeGeneres as her plus one.
More recently, Heche starred as a mother searching for her daughter in the Lifetime movie Girl in Room 13, which the cable network says will still air in September.