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Cause Of Death For Actress Anne Heche Given By Coroner

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The cause of death for the late actress Anne Heche has been issued by the medical examiner and has been deemed accidental and a result of smoke inhalation and other factors.

Another factor that led to her death was a sternal fracture caused by blunt trauma, TMZ reported.

Anne was declared brain dead last week, which is considered legally dead in California. Her body was kept on life support for a little while longer so doctors could properly harvest her organs and find donors, which they ultimately did.

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The day of the car crash was well documented by bystanders and security footage — much of which showed Anne flying through the residential area at incredibly high speeds and nearly hitting people along the way. She struck a garage and car before plowing into a house.

Neighbors spoke to People Magazine about the fiery crash and what Heche said as she was still conscious.

Neighbor Lynne Bernstein said that the actress’s car drove “almost all the way through” the house and “almost immediately” caught fire.

He said a neighbor named Dave was able to get to the back of her car and speak to her briefly

“She responded that she wasn’t doing really well,” Bernstein said.

“He actually talked to her briefly,” he said. “Yeah, he asked her to raise her hand or something … if she was okay and she said she couldn’t.”

“We were having a hard time seeing and breathing,” he said. The man said that another neighbor named Gabriel started hosing down the fire as Dave attempted to get the actress from the car.

“He [was] overcome by the smoke. So, he went to the back of the house to see if there was an alternative route, maybe we could get to her from the front of the vehicle,” he said. “But the smoke, even on the backyard was pretty darn intense.

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Bernstein says that the resident of the home “was in shock” as she saw the three men in the house before noticing the vehicle. “I don’t think she got what was going on. She said, ‘What happened? What happened?'” he recalls.

He adds: “She was extremely fortunate. So were the dogs and her turtle.”

When this interview was done Heche was still alive and some believed that she may have made it.

“We were just looking inside, going ‘How could you survive that?’ Because we had a hard time breathing even outside of the house,” he said. “So, somebody was watching out over her, I guess. I mean, as seriously injured she may be.”

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People who were close to the actress responded to the news of her tragic death.

“This is a sad day,” Ellen DeGeneres, who dated Heche from 1997 – 2000, said. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family, and friends all of my love.

“After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom,” her son, Homer, said.

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“Heart breaking….she was so special. Such a pure & vulnerable free spirit. I’ll always remember her with joy, dancing on #dwts in the [rainbow] costume sharing her story so honestly. That’s why she was such a good actress. She couldn’t help but be honest and open. may she rest and play in peace and joy,” Carrie Ann Inaba said.

“I’ve been thinking of her since her accident last week and like many of you, my heart is heavy” she said. “Anne was one of the stars on @dancingwiththestars that truly touched my heart. Her personal story was one that reached into my heart and squeezed it. I could feel the pain she felt, and I could also feel her resilient and courageous soul. And it was touching.”

“I had no idea all that she had gone through in this lifetime and I felt a connection to her and the struggles she faced in life. Despite her trials and tribulations, she had a bright light when she came out on that stage to dance,” she went on. “Every time she performed, there was a sense of complete joy and a celebration of life. It was pure. And it was special,” she said.

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