The actress Anne Heche, who had been in a coma since a car crash last week, has been declared brain-dead and is being kept on life-support to see if her organs are viable for donation, one of her representatives said Friday.
Ms. Heche, 53, was critically injured on Aug. 5 when she crashed the Mini Cooper she was driving into a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, the authorities said. She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, according to a statement released on behalf of her family and friends Thursday night.
“It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable,” the statement said.
The declaration of brain death had come Thursday night but “her heart is still beating” on life support, the representative, Holly Baird, said Friday. The search for possible organ recipients could take a few days, even as Ms. Heche’s family and friends put out statements of grief.
“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” her friends and family said in a statement released by Ms. Baird. “Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy.”
The crash started a fire that took 59 firefighters more than an hour to extinguish, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Ms. Heche was the only person in the car, the authorities said.
Jeff Lee, a public information officer with the Los Angeles Police, said an initial blood sample drawn from Ms. Heche at the hospital had revealed “the presence of drugs” but did not say what kind. He said a second test was needed to rule out any substances administered by hospital staff but those results could take “weeks.”
In 1991, Ms. Heche won a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding younger actress in a drama series, for playing good and evil twins on the NBC soap opera “Another World.”
She starred in several popular Hollywood films in the late 1990s, including “Donnie Brasco,” “Wag the Dog” and “Six Days Seven Nights.” She continued to have television roles, including on “Men in Trees” in 2006 and “Hung” in 2009, and performed on Broadway, starring in “Proof” in 2002 and “Twentieth Century” in 2004, for which she received a Tony nomination.
In his review of “Twentieth Century,” Ben Brantley of The Times wrote of Ms. Heche’s portrayal of Lily Garland, “Her posture melting between serpentine seductiveness and a street fighter’s aggressiveness, her voice shifting between supper-club velvet and dime store vinyl, Ms. Heche summons an entire gallery of studio-made sirens from the Depression era: Jean Harlow, the pre-mummified Joan Crawford and, yes, Carole Lombard, who famously portrayed Lily in Howard Hawks’s screen version of ‘Twentieth Century.’”
She has several projects that are in postproduction, according to IMDb, including “Supercell,” a movie with Alec Baldwin, and the HBO show “The Idol.” She had recently finished filming on “Girl in Room 13,” a Lifetime movie that is scheduled to premiere in September, Variety reported.