LOS ANGELES — Actor Anne Heche suffered an “anoxic” brain injury and is not expected to survive, her spokesperson said Thursday, nearly a week after she crashed her car into a home in Los Angeles.
“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 spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of her friends and family.
On Monday, Heche, 53, was in a coma and in “extreme” condition, her representative said. The spokesperson said the actor was “unconscious, slipping into a coma” following the crash.
Anoxic injuries occur when the brain is cut off from oxygen, causing cell death.
Heche, who was hospitalized at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital, remained in a coma and in critical condition Thursday, the statement said.
Heche careened into a home in the Mar Vista community of Los Angeles late Friday morning. The home sustained damage from the “heavy fire” sparked by the collision, Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
She had drugs in her system and was being investigated for possibly driving under the influence, police said Thursday.
“In preliminary testing, the blood draw revealed the presence of drugs,” Los Angeles police said in a statement.
Police could not “comment right now on presence of cocaine, fentanyl or alcohol at this time,” they said Thursday. “That will be determined by the second test.”
“The case is being investigated as felony DUI traffic collision,” the statement said.
Heche landed her first notable roles on the soap opera “Another World,” portraying Vicky Hudson and Marley Love into the early 1990s.
Later that decade, films such as “Donnie Brasco,” “Volcano,” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” helped propel her fame inside Hollywood and beyond.
Her television credits included “Chicago P.D.,” and “Men in Trees.”
She met talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 1997, when Vince Vaughn, her co-star in “Return to Paradise,” introduced the two at a Los Angeles-area restaurant.
Heche and DeGeneres became romantically involved in a relationship Heche said was groundbreaking for the time because of the global attention they received as Hollywood stars in a same-sex romance.
“My story is a story that created change in the world, moved the needle for equal rights forward, when I fell in love with Ellen DeGeneres,” she said in a taped segment that year for the show “Dancing With the Stars.”
When their three-year relationship ended in 2000, Heche was hospitalized after she was found wandering in a rural area of Fresno County, California, acting disoriented and confused, authorities said.
Heche described her struggles with her mental health in her 2001 memoir, “Call Me Crazy.”
“I wanted to beat everybody else to the punch,” she said about the book in an interview that year with Larry King. “I certainly know what’s been written about me in the press. I, although I was never diagnosed as being crazy, I went crazy.”
Heche also wrote about her relationship with DeGeneres. She said it was groundbreaking as a high-profile, same-sex romance, but that it cost her career dearly.
Heche said she couldn’t get hired for a role by a major studio for nearly a decade.
Later, she married Coley Laffoon, and the couple had a son before divorcing. She had another son in 2009 with actor James Tupper, her co-star on “Men in Trees,” before the two separated.
In her family’s statement, Heche was described as having a “huge heart” and someone who “touched everyone she met with her generous spirit.”
“More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work — especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love,” the statement said. “She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”
Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.
Tim Stelloh is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
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