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Actor Anne Heche remains on life support for organ donation evaluation

Anne Heche remains on life support and under evaluation for organ donation after a car crash that led to her brain death, a representative for the actor said Friday. Under current California law, death can be determined by the loss of all brain function and in accordance with accepted medical standards.

Heche suffered severe brain injury after her car struck an L.A. home and a fire erupted

Actress Anne Heche brain dead after crash

2 months ago
Duration 2:00
Actors and other celebrities paid tribute to Anne Heche Friday, after a spokesperson said the 53-year-old actress was declared brain dead after last week’s car crash in Los Angeles.

Anne Heche remains on life support and under evaluation for organ donation after a car crash that led to her brain death, a representative for the actor said Friday.

Under current California law, death can be determined by the loss of all brain function and in accordance with accepted medical standards.

While Heche is legally dead, she's on life support and "her heart is still beating" so that the nonprofit organization OneLegacy can determine if she can be a donor, spokesperson Holly Baird said in a statement.

The process, which involves assessing which organs are viable and finding an appropriate recipient, could take from one day to several days, Baird told The Associated Press.

In the U.S., most organ transplants are done after the donor has been declared brain-dead.

Actor Anne Heche, pictured in March, suffered a 'severe anoxic brain injury,' according to a statement from a representative. Such an injury is caused by a sustained lack of oxygen to the brain. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Severe injury, car crash

The actor suffered a "severe anoxic brain injury," caused by a lack of oxygen, when her car crashed into a Los Angeles area home Aug. 5 and fire erupted, according to a statement released Thursday that said she wasn't expected to survive.

She's been hospitalized at a Los Angeles burn centre.

"This is a sad day. I'm sending Anne's children, family and friends all of my love," Ellen DeGeneres said Friday on Twitter amid reports of Heche's dire condition. They were a couple from 1997 to 2000.

Detectives investigating the crash said narcotics were found in a blood sample taken from Heche, though toxicology tests still had to be performed to differentiate them from drugs she was given for her injuries, Los Angeles police said.

Heche, left, and Sandra Oh, pictured in a Toronto hotel as they promote their film Catfight during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

A native of Ohio, Heche first came to prominence on the NBC soap opera Another World from 1987 to 1991. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for the role of twins Marley and Vicky.

In the late 1990s she became one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, a constant on magazine covers and in big-budget films. In 1997 alone, she played opposite Johnny Depp as his wife in Donnie Brasco and Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano and was part of the ensemble cast in the original I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The following year, she starred with Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights and appeared with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix in Return to Paradise.

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