Coroner: Anne Heche Death `Accidental'; Fire, Smoke Inhalation Cited

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The death of actress Anne Heche was ruled accidental Wednesday by the Los Angeles County coroner's office, which found she died due to smoke inhalation and burns from the fire that erupted when she crashed her car into a Mar Vista home.

While attributing her death to "inhalation and thermal injuries," the coroner's office also found that she suffered a "sternal fracture due to blunt trauma."

The coroner's office listed her date of death as Aug. 11, the day she was declared brain dead at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center. Her body was kept on life support until Sunday, when an organ recipient was found. It was unclear exactly what organ or organs were donated.

Los Angeles police said Friday that in light of Heche's death, they had officially ended their investigation into the Aug. 5 crash. Heche crashed her blue Mini Cooper into a Mar Vista home in the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue that was largely destroyed in the ensuing fire.

Blood tests showed the presence of "narcotics," prompting a "felony DUI investigation," Officer Annie Hernandez said earlier. The test results also showed Heche was not under the influence of alcohol.

That investigation is now closed.

The bizarre series of events that led to her death began earlier on the morning of Aug. 5. TMZ obtained video showing Heche involved in a minor collision at a Mar Vista-area apartment complex, crashing into a wall in a parking area, then driving away as people nearby tried to help. The crash into the home occurred a short time later.

Surveillance video posted on social media showed her car speeding down the 1700 block of South Walgrove Avenue, a residential street near Palms Boulevard, just prior to the crash, which sent Heche's car completely into the home.

The vehicle "struck and came to rest well within a 738-square-foot two-story home, built in 1952, causing structural compromise and erupting in heavy fire prior to LAFD arrival," said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure, and rescue one female adult found within the vehicle," Humphrey said.

No other injuries were reported.

Heche rose to fame on the soap opera "Another World," where she played the dual role of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love from 1987 to 1991 and won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance.

In the following years, she amassed more than 100 acting credits in films such as "Wag the Dog," "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and director Gus Van Sant's remake of "Psycho" and  television shows including "Ally McBeal," "Chicago P.D." and a recurring role on the CBS courtroom drama "All Rise."

She also appeared in several Broadway productions, earning a Tony nomination in 2004 for her work in the play "Twentieth Century."

Before her death, Heche completed Lifetime's "Girl in Room 13," which is set to premiere this fall.

She is survived by two sons, Homer Heche Laffoon, 20, and Atlas Tupper, 13; her estranged mother, Nancy Heche; and one sibling.

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