L.A. County coroner reveals Anne Heche’s cause of death

A blond woman in an off-the-shoulder dress smiles
“Another World” actor Anne Heche died last Friday, a week after her car crash in Mar Vista.
(Michael Bezjian / Getty Images for Mammoth Media Institute)

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner‘s office on Wednesday ruled Anne Heche’s death an accident, days after the “Another World” actor’s death at 53 and nearly two weeks after her fiery car crash in Mar Vista.

Heche died from smoke “inhalation and thermal injuries,” the coroner’s office said. She also suffered a “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma” — an injury that’s commonly caused when the chest strikes the steering wheel during a car wreck.

Heche was hospitalized Aug. 5 with severe burns after crashing her car into a house in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. The accident caused the home to catch fire.


A 911 call published Tuesday by TMZ recounted the moments shortly after Heche’s crash. A Mar Vista resident told police that a car going “very fast” made it “10 feet into the house” and into a second room. Fifty-nine firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the flames in 65 minutes.

When David Manpearl arrived at the crash site, he found saw debris everywhere, a tenant asking for help and Anne Heche stuck in a car.

Aug. 8, 2022

Shortly after the accident, Heche became unconscious, then slipped into a coma, her representative said days after the crash. Heche had sustained a serious brain injury due to a lack of oxygen to her brain.

She was declared brain dead last Thursday and legally dead Friday. Her body remained on life support to preserve her organs for donation until Sunday, when a recipient was identified.

Before her death, a law-enforcement source confirmed to The Times that Heche had been under the influence of cocaine when she crashed her car in Mar Vista. Fentanyl was also found in blood taken from the actor at the hospital, but it was unclear whether that was given to her as a painkiller after the accident.

The LAPD dismissed the DUI investigation against the actor on Saturday.

Actor Anne Heche’s 2001 tell-all memoir, ‘Call Me Crazy,’ is now considered a ‘collectible.’ And it’s selling for hundreds of dollars after her death.

Aug. 16, 2022

“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,” Officer Norma Eisenman said in a statement. “When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.”


A Daytime Emmy winner, Heche was known for her work on the NBC soap drama “Another World” and in several high-profile 1990s films including “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Donnie Brasco,” “Wag the Dog” and “Volcano.”

She was also known for her norms-busting three-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000. The comic sent “all my love” to the actor’s family upon her death.

Actor Anne Heche dies after suffering significant burns and a severe brain injury last week when she crashed her car into a Mar Vista home.

Aug. 12, 2022

The Ohio native was married to cameraman Coleman “Coley” Laffoon from 2001 to 2007. Along with DeGeneres, director James Gunn, Heche’s ex-boyfriend James Tupper and the Daytime Emmys mourned Heche on Friday.

She is survived by her sons, Homer Laffoon and Atlas Tupper.