Anne Heche's Manner Of Death Has Been Revealed

Sadly, Anne Heche sustained catastrophic injuries after crashing her vehicle into a residence on August 5, setting the building ablaze, The New York Times reported. She was hospitalized at the Grossman Burn Center in L.A., where she was placed on a ventilator, according to the New York Post. For days, there was hope that the actor would pull through, but on August 12, she was pronounced legally dead. 

Heche left behind two sons from her respective relationships with Coley Laffoon and James Tupper: Homer, 20, and Atlas, 13. "After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness," Homer said in a statement, per Today. "Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom."

Heche's heart was kept beating so that her organs could be harvested, and after one of her final wishes was fulfilled, the coroner revealed her official manner of death.

Anne Heche's death was a tragic accident

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner found Anne Heche's death was accidental, per People. Contributing factors to her death included smoke inhalation, injuries caused by the vehicle fire, and a chest injury described as "sternal fracture due to blunt trauma." A rep for the actor's family had previously stated that she also "suffered a severe anoxic brain injury," according to The Washington Post.

"Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit," her family's statement said. "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." Per People, her last act of generosity helped at least one person in need of an organ donation, but details about the recipient have not been revealed. Heche's gift was recognized with an Honor Walk, which involves staff members at the hospital gathering together to silently watch as an organ donor is transported to the OR, according to Us Weekly

According to Radar, sources have stated Heche's funeral will take place within a week. "It's just close family and friends," the outlet was reportedly informed. "It will be small and private." An insider also claimed that Heche's ex, Ellen DeGeneres, will not be asked to attend.

Why one of the last people to see Anne Heche alive is defending himself

While Anne Heche was still in a coma, police sources told TMZ that their preliminary testing found cocaine and traces of fentanyl in her blood, but they stated that it was possible that the latter had been administered at the hospital to ease Heche's pain. The actor was being investigated for a possible DUI charge, but after she was declared legally dead, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that it had dropped its investigation. In a statement to NBC News, the department explained, "When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration."

However, a man who interacted with Heche shortly before her death is being tried in the court of public opinion. Per the Los Angeles Times, Heche stopped by the Glass Hair Design salon in Venice and purchased a scarlet wig not long before her deadly crash. Owner Richard Glass stated that she did not appear to be impaired.

After Heche died, an emotional Glass told TMZ that some social media users were suggesting that he had given the actor the drugs that were found in her system, which he vehemently denied. "I just feel a huge remorse," he said. "And I don't feel like I did everything that I was supposed to do to keep her here."

Anne Heche's brother also died in a car accident

Anne Heche's brother, Nate Heche, was just 18 years old when he died in a car accident. According to his 1983 obituary on the Noble County Indiana Library website, he crashed into a tree after falling asleep. Per Vulture, Anne's allegedly abusive father had died from AIDS just months earlier. 

Heche spoke about the impact her brother's death had on her life when she appeared on "Hollywood Medium" in 2019, and she also mentioned her strict religious mother, Nancy Heche, who had disparaged Anne's relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in her book, "The Truth Comes Out: When Someone You Love is in A Same Sex Relationship." Nancy wrote, "Anne's newfound lesbian love affair is like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals."

Speaking to medium Tyler Henry, Anne said that she left her family's home in New Jersey because of her brother's tragic death, which she believed was a possible suicide, per Vulture. "Something extraordinary needed to happen to get me out of what would certainly be my death if I continued to live with my mother," Heche told Henry.