Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Ed Helms, and James Tupper were among the Hollywood stars who shared their remembrances and tributes on social media following the news of actress Anne Heche’s death.
Heche, who starred in the movies Donnie Brasco, Volcano and Wag the Dog and in smaller screen projects like All Rise, Hung and Men in Trees, died on Friday at the age of 53. She was taken off life support on Sunday, according to her rep, after spending several days in a coma at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills (California) Hospital and Medical Center. On Aug. 12, she was determined to be brain dead, which is legally dead by California law. However, the actress was kept on life support to see if she was a match for organ donation.
On Aug. 5, Heche smashed into a two-story home in L.A.’s Mar Vista neighborhood after driving her Mini Cooper off the road. The crash caused “structural compromise and erupting in heavy fire,” according to the L.A. Fire Department. The actress was hospitalized in critical condition, suffering burns and a severe anoxic brain injury from the crash.
“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother and a loyal friend,” said a statement, shared with The Hollywood Reporter by Heche’s rep, on behalf of her family and friends. “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.”
In a statement provided to THR, Homer Laffoon, Heche’s 20-year-old son from her marriage to Coley Laffoon, acknowledged that he and his 13-year-old half-brother, Atlas Tupper (Heche’s son with Men in Trees actor James Tupper) have “lost our mom.”
He goes on to share his appreciation for the “thousands of friends, family, and fans” who have “made their hearts known” and been his rock, including his father Coley Laffoon and stepmom Alexi. “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,” he said.
Coley shared his gratitude for “all those people checking in” on him, Homer and the rest of their family, “showing us your heart, offering prayers and everything,” in a video posted to Instagram on Friday.
“She came in hot and she had a lot to say. She was brave and fearless, loved really hard and was never afraid to let us know what she (thought), what she believed in,” he said about Hech in the video message. “It was always love. It was all about love.”
“Love you. Thank you. Thank you for all the good times. There were so many,” he concluded. “See you on the other side. In the meantime, I got our son. He’ll be fine.”
James Tupper also shared a message on social media, writing, “Love you forever,” followed by a broken heart emoji in the caption of a photo of Heche published on his Instagram.
Beyond Heche’s family, a slew of Hollywood friends and fellow stars shared statements on Heche’s passing, including host, actress and former partner, Ellen DeGeneres. “This is a sad day,” she tweeted Friday. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
In a statement to THR, her Wag the Dog costar Robert De Niro shared that he was “very sad to hear of the tragic passing of Anne Heche. She was a wonderful actress and I enjoyed working with her tremendously in ‘Wag the Dog.’ Sad!Sad!Sad!”
Director James Gunn celebrated Heche’s work on a 2002 stage production — her Broadway debut — while sending his condolences. “Honest to God, I think maybe the best acting performance I’ve ever seen in my life was Anne Heche in PROOF on Broadway #RIP,” he wrote.
Heche’s Cedar Rapids costar and The Office actor Ed Helms sent “tremendous love and support to her family” in a message posted to Twitter. “Anne Heche news today is so heartbreaking. A truly epic, vibrant spirit and a profound talent.”
Isaiah Whitlock, Jr., who also worked with the actress and Helms on the same project, tweeted that his heart is broken. “One of the kindest and most talented actors I’ve ever worked with. God bless you. You will be greatly missed.”
Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan remembered the impact Heche’s public relationship with Ellen DeGeneres had in 1997. “I was in awe, and remember thinking, ‘This could really change things for people,’” he tweeted. “Thank you for so bravely taking that step, Anne.”
Straw Hut Media cofounder and CEO Ryan Tillotson, whose company produced Heche’s podcast Better Together which was cohosted with Heather Duffy, wrote a lengthy statement about her passing on Instagram. “I will remember her most for her big heart, her commitment to the people she loved, and the fearless way she fought for what she believed in,” he said.
Read below for more tributes.