Former ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Contestant Declared Brain Dead at 53
Actress and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Anne Heche died on Friday, August 12, 2022, a week after being involved in a fiery car accident on Friday, August 5, 2022.
The news was confirmed by Heche’s friend, Nancy Davis, in an Instagram post.
“Heaven has a new angel,” she wrote. “My loving, kind, fun, endearing and beautiful friend @anneheche went to heaven. I will miss her terribly and cherish all the beautiful memories we have shared.”
She added, “Anne 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.”
A representative told TMZ that Heche was declared brain dead and remains on life support for organ donation purposes. According to California law, brain death is equal to death.
The star leaves behind two children, both sons who were born to her exes. Her oldest son is Homer Laffoon, 20, and her youngest is Atlas Heche Tupper, 13. Heche was first married to Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, a real estate broker with whom she shares Homer.
Atlas was born to Heche and her ex-boyfriend, James Tupper in 2009. Tupper is a Canadian actor, and he met Heche on the set of “Men in Trees,” according to Hollywood Life. The couple separated in 2018.
Heche was the daughter of Don Heche and Nancy Heche. She told ABC News in 2001 that she was sexually abused by her father, who had been dead for nearly 20 years at the time of the interview. Months after her father died, Heche’s brother, Nate, died in a car accident, according to the New York Post.
Heche first gained recognition while acting in the soap opera “Another World” in the late 1980s. Then, Heche starred in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Six Days, Seven Nights,” and “Return to Paradise.”
She also earned recognition for her work on Broadway. The star was on the 29th season of “Dancing With the Stars” where she competed alongside professional dancer Keo Motsepe.
Heche was also known for her high-profile relationship with comedian and talk-show host Ellen Degeneres. The couple started dating in 1997, and they broke up in 2000, according to ABC News.
At the time of the accident, Heche was part of several ongoing projects. “Girl in Room 13,” a Lifetime movie, will premiere this fall. She was also in a horror-thriller “Full Ride” and in Sam Levinson and The Weeknd’s HBO show titled “Idol.”
Heche Was Involved In a Fiery Car Crash
Heche was involved in a fiery car crash on Friday, August 5, 2022. She fell into a coma from which she never regained consciousness, her representative later shared in a statement to People.
Los Angeles Public Information Officer Jeff Lee explained that Heche’s vehicle, a blue Mini Cooper, was “traveling at a high speed when it ran off the road and collided with a residence,” according to CNN.
A statement from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by ET Online stated that the crash occurred at 10:55 a.m. PT when a “vehicle collided into a residence located at 1700 block of Walgrove Ave.” LAPD did not identify the driver or any injuries, though the officer told the outlet the driver was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
59 firefighters worked for over an hour to put out the flames.
According to CNN, LAPD is investigating the crash as well as a “misdemeanor hit and run” incident.
According to the original report by TMZ, Heche initially crashed into an apartment complex’s garage but “sped off” after the incident.
Law enforcement officers told the LA Times that the actress was “deemed to be under the influence and acting erratically.”
The Crash Is Being Investigated as a Felony
According to USA Today, Heche was being investigated after her accident in order for LAPD to determine if drugs and/or alcohol was a factor in the crash. Later, CNN revealed that the crash was being investigated as a felony.
LAPD Officer Jeff Lee told CNN, “Her blood showed signs of impairment and that is why it is now being investigated as a felony traffic collision.”
“The blood draw results showed a presence of narcotics but additional testing is required to rule out any substances that were administered in the hospital,” he stated.