Anne Heche Dies: Coroner Reveals Official Causes of Death

by Taylor Cunningham

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office has ruled Anne Heche’s death an accident.

A report recently released by the office shared that Heche died from injuries sustained in her August 5th car crash. More specifically, prolonged smoke inhalation and thermal injuries caused her to slip into a coma from which she never awoke.

The accidental death also came as a result of a “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma” and an unnamed “significant condition.”

During the incident, Heche crashed her Mini Cooper into a LA residence while driving at an estimated 90 mph. As a result, both her car and the home caught on fire. Firefighters were not able to immediately reach Heche due to the blaze.

A blood test later revealed that the actress had been under the influence of cocaine and possibly fentanyl at the time of the crash. Hospitals often use fentanyl as a pain killer in hospitals. Because of that, the LAPD could not determine when she ingested the drug.

Anne Heche Remained in a Coma For One Week Before Doctors Declared Her Brain Dead

Initially, doctor’s believed Heche would survive her injuries. But she quickly fell into a coma. On August 12th, a representative announced that she was “not expected to survive.” And that same day, the hospital declared her legally brain dead.

In her life, Anne Heche had expressed wishes to be an organ donor. In order to remain a viable donor, the hospital kept her on life support while it searched for a match.

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” the representative told PEOPLE in a statement. “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 LAPD had been investigating the crash as a possible felony. But when the actress passed away, the department closed the case.

“As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case,” a spokesperson told PEOPLE. “Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.”

Anne Heche’s family removed her from life support on August 14th. However, her death was officially declared on August 12th. She was 53 years old.