Tributes continued in the hours since actress Anne Heche was declared brain dead at Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, although she was being kept on life support so her viable organs could be harvested for donation.
“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” her 20-year-old son Homer Heche Laffoon said in a media statement. “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. Rest in peace, mom. I love you.”
His father, Coleman Laffoon, who was married to Heche from 2001 to 2009, posted a short video on social media, saying, “I loved her, I miss her, and I’m always going to.
“I think Anne is probably, I’d like to think she’s free, free from pain and enjoying or experiencing whatever’s next in her journey. She came in hot and she had a lot to say. She was brave and fearless, loved really hard, and was never afraid to let us know what she thinks and what she believed in. And it was always love, it was all about love. So goodbye, Anne. Love you, thank you. Thank you for all the good times. There were so many.”
Her death came one week after she crashed her blue Mini Cooper into a Mar Vista home in the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue that was largely destroyed in the ensuing fire.
A family representative said Heche, 53, was officially declared brain dead Thursday night from injuries suffered in the crash, which occurred around 11 a.m. on Aug. 5.
Earlier Thursday the family announced Heche was not expected to survive her injuries, which included burns and a brain injury. Hours earlier, a Los Angeles Police officer told City News Service blood tests on Heche following the crash showed the presence of “narcotics,” but more tests would be needed to rule out substances that may have been administered at a hospital following last Friday’s crash.
TMZ reported the tests showed Heche “was under the influence of cocaine” and possibly fentanyl, but it was unclear whether the fentanyl was already in her system or was the result of medications administered at the hospital.
The blood tests showed Heche was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, Officer Annie Hernandez said.
A “felony DUI investigation” was initiated, but in a statement to People magazine following Heche’s death, LAPD officials said “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case.”
Lynne Mishele, the woman whose home and most possessions were destroyed in the Aug. 5 crash posted her own condolences on Instagram.
“The news of Anne Heche passing is devastating. Her family and her friends and her children, especially, really have suffered a great loss, and my heart goes out for them. This entire situation is just tragic and there really are just no words. I’m sending love to everyone involved.”
Ellen DeGeneres — with whom Heche had a high-profile relationship from March 1997 until they broke up in August 2000 — wrote on Twitter Friday morning, “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
Actor James Tupper, who had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with Heche, posted a photo of her on Instagram and wrote simply, “Love you forever.” Tupper and Heche co-starred in “Men in Trees,” which aired on ABC from 2006-2008.
Close friend Nancy Davis wrote on Instagram, “Heaven has a new Angel.”
“My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend (Heche) went to heaven,” she wrote. “I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared. Ann 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.”
Heche rose to fame on the soap opera “Another World,” where she played the dual role of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love from 1987 to 1991 and won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance.
She also had roles in films including “Donnie Brasco,” “Six Days, Seven Nights,” “Wag the Dog,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and director Gus Van Sant’s remake of “Psycho.”
In addition, the Ohio native appeared on several television series including “Ally McBeal,” “Chicago P.D.” and a recurring role on the CBS courtroom drama “All Rise.” In June, she signed on to star in Lifetime’s “Girl in Room 13,” which is set to premiere this fall.
In 2004 Heche earned a Tony nomination for her work in a Broadway production of the play “Twentieth Century” and she competed during the 2020 season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
The bizarre series of events that led to her death began earlier on the morning of Aug. 5. TMZ obtained video showing Heche involved in a minor collision at a Mar Vista-area apartment complex, crashing into a wall in a parking area, then driving away as people nearby tried to help. The crash into the home occurred a short time later.
Surveillance video posted on social media showed her car speeding down the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue, a residential street near Palms Boulevard, just prior to the crash, which sent Heche’s blue Mini Cooper completely into the home.
The vehicle “struck and came to rest well within a 738-square-foot two-story home, built in 1952, causing structural compromise and erupting in heavy fire prior to LAFD arrival,” said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure, and rescue one female adult found within the vehicle,” Humphrey said.
No other injuries were reported.
In addition to her sons, Heche is survived by her estranged mother, Nancy Heche, and one sibling.