LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Hech remains on life support and is being evaluated for an organ donation after a car accident that left her brain dead, a representative for the actor said Friday.
Under current California law, death may be determined by the loss of all brain function and according to accepted medical standards.
Although Heche is legally dead, she is on life support and “her heart is still beating” so the nonprofit OneLegacy can determine whether she can be a donor, spokeswoman Holly Baird said.
The process, which involves evaluating which organs are viable and finding a suitable recipient, can take anywhere from a day to several days, Baird told The Associated Press.
In the US, most organ transplants are performed after the donor has been declared brain dead.
According to a statement released Thursday that said she did not survive, the actor suffered “severe anoxic brain injury” caused by a lack of oxygen when her car crashed into a home in the Los Angeles area on Aug. 5 and caught fire. .
She was admitted to the Los Angeles Burn Center.
“It’s a sad day. I send Anne’s children, family and friends all my love,” Ellen DeGeneres said Friday on Twitter amid reports of Heche’s critical condition. They were a couple from 1997 to 2000.
Detectives investigating the crash said drugs were found in a sample of Heche’s blood, although toxicology tests are still needed to distinguish them from drugs she received from her injuries, Los Angeles police said.
A native of Ohio, Heche first rose to fame on the NBC soap opera Another World from 1987 to 1991. She won a Daytime Emmy for her portrayal of twins Marley and Vicki.
In the late 1990s, she became one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, constantly appearing 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 Vulcan, and was in the cast of the original I Know What You Did Last Summer.
The following year, she starred opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days Seven Nights and co-starred with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix in Return to Paradise.