Actress Anne Heche 'brain dead' after crash: US media

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Hollywood actress Anne Heche has been declared "brain dead" one week after she crashed her car into a Los Angeles building, US media said on Friday (Aug 12).

Heche, 53, had been comatose in hospital with a severe brain injury since the fiery collision on Aug 5.

She never regained consciousness and irreversibly lost all brain function, CNN reported, although her family kept her body on life support while exploring potential organ donations.

"My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom," Heche's son Homer Laffoon said in a statement carried by multiple US outlets on Friday.

"Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom," he wrote.

Heche, best known for 1990s movies Donnie Brasco and Six Days, Seven Nights, as well as a high-profile relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, crashed her car into a two-storey house in the Mar Vista neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

The violent collision resulted in "structural compromise and... heavy fire" at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The ensuing blaze took 59 firefighters more than an hour to contain and fully extinguish, the department said.

Local media reported on Thursday that preliminary tests of Heche's blood had come back positive for narcotics, though more were needed to ensure the drugs had not been administered in the course of her treatment.

Celebrity gossip outlet TMZ, citing unnamed police sources, said Heche had tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl, with the latter sometimes used for pain relief in clinical settings.

Heche rose to fame with her role on the soap opera Another World, for which she won a Daytime Emmy in 1991.

She was nominated for a Tony award for her appearance in Twentieth Century on Broadway in 2004.

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