Friends and supporters of Anne Heche are paying their respects after it was announced Friday afternoon that the actress had been declared dead in California. Heche suffered a severe brain injury after crashing her car into a residential home in Los Angeles last week. She was 53 years old.
A representative for Heche’s family confirmed the news to TMZ with the following statement:
We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. 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.
Ex-girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter after the announcement to post: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” Heche and DeGeneres made headlines in 1997 as one of Hollywood’s earliest visible queer couples. They dated until 2000.
Actor James Tupper, who was in a relationship with Heche for over a decade, posted a photo of the actress on Instagram with the caption, “love you forever 💔” The two have a thirteen-year-old son, Atlas.
Friend and philanthropist Nancy Davis, who worked with Heche on The Race To Erase MS, posted the following tribute on Instagram Friday morning, calling her “always the kindest, most thoughtful person who always brought out the best in me:”
I’m at a loss as I write this. Lord knows she had her struggles in life, but it led her to carry herself the way she did, led her to be the woman I met. She told me the only one holding me back was me, and that I needed to be my own hero. She gave me so much advice. She taught me how to carry myself in this industry. She is an icon. She was an immense talent. She was a lot of things but my most importantly she was loved. I’m heartbroken, and I know many, many other people are as well. I’ve been reading so many experiences similar to mine and that impact is a testament to who she is. Anne seemed to know a lot about what it is to be human, and the ferocious courage it takes to fully embrace that. She knew there was strength in vulnerability and she wouldn’t let anyone rob her of it. I hope she is at peace. My heart goes out to all of those that loved her but especially her family. I’ll miss you Anne, thanks for everything. ❤️❤️ #anneheche
Longtime Dancing With The Stars judge, Carrie Ann Inaba, also memorialized Heche on her Instagram page, writing, in part, “Despite her trials and tribulations, she had a bright light when she came out on that stage to dance.” Heche competed on the show in 2020.
Actress Rosanna Arquette responded with a simple message: “Rest In Peace now Anne .” Author and host of the Everything Iconic podcast, Danny Pellegrino, posted the following on Twitter: “Sad to hear about Anne Heche. Six Days Seven Nights was one of the earliest romcoms I taped on VHS and watched over and over. Also loved her Men in Trees ABC series. 💔”
During their TCA panel on Thursday, Lifetime announced that they were still set to air Girl In Room 13, an upcoming film starring Heche about a mother searching for her daughter who is a victim of sex trafficking. During the panel, Executive VP and Head Of Programming Amy Winter said the following of the project:
This project is important to Anne, along with each and every one of us. We all sought to make a film that would bring attention to this appalling issue of human sex trafficking. We hope that this film reached you and that you are just as inspired as Anne was to help us with our mission to stop violence against women. Thank you for your support and your questions about the film.
Lifetime has yet to release an updated statement following today’s news. Our thoughts go out to Heche’s loved ones.