Actress Anne Heche has died. The 53-year-old actress was in a devastating car accident on Friday, August 5, that left her in a coma.
“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” a rep for the star tells PEOPLE in a statement on behalf of Heche’s family and friends.
“Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
The family’s rep confirms to PEOPLE that, while Heche is legally dead according to California law, her heart is still beating and she has not been taken off life support in order to allow OneLegacy Foundation enough time to find recipients who will be a match.
On Thursday, her rep shared that the prognosis was dire. “Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition,” the rep told PEOPLE in a statement on behalf of Heche’s family. “She is not expected to survive. It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she’s being kept on life support to determine if any are viable.”
The statement also expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and for the care shown Heche in the aftermath of the devastating crash on Aug. 5.
“We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne’s recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital,” the statement read.
Heche’s career spanned decades and included memorable roles on TV, film and the stage. She rose to fame in the late ’80s and ’90s with her roles in the soap opera Another World (1987–1991) and films Volcano, Wag the Dog, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Six Days Seven Nights and the 1998 remake of Psycho. She is also known for her role in the 2004 film Gracie’s Choice, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actress, and the ABC romantic comedy series Men in Trees, which aired from 2006 to 2008.
Shortly after releasing her first memoir, Call Me Crazy, in 2001, Heche made her Broadway debut in 2002 in a production of Proof, a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, and starred alongside Alec Baldwin in Broadway’s Twentieth Century in 2004. She was nominated for Tony Award in best actress in a play.
The actress remained busy through the latter part of her career, with myriad projects, including her podcast Better Together with Anne & Heather, beside Heather Duffy, and a starring role in Lifetime’s Girl in Room 13. She also appeared in Netflix’s Peter Facinelli-directed psychological thriller The Vanished, the 2021 disaster film 13 Minutes and on OWN’s legal drama All Rise. She also appears in HBO Max’s upcoming series The Idol.