"I had to take a moment to begin to process the profound loss of my beautiful friend with the kindest soul I've known," she began the sweet reflection, which included a silly photo of her with Heche, who died last week.
"Anne was joyful despite all the challenges that she faced in her life. She was truthful despite being in a business that is make-believe. Spreading love and kindness in the world is what mattered most to her, even if, at times, the world did not give it back," Duffy continued. "So many do not know the bravery and the sacrifice it took for Anne to stand up for the right to love who you wanted back in the late 90s. Her public stand for equality empowered many LGBTQ+ people worldwide to see a future where they could live in their truth, which mattered to her more than anything."
"We have come a long way because of her truth, bravery, and kindness in that moment 25 years ago when she chose to bring a woman as her date to the premiere of Volcano," Duffy added. "I wish the media would have circled back at some point while she was with us to recognize how harshly they judged her in those moments when she took a stand for equality."
Duffy noted that Heche "was way ahead of us, and we are all just catching up."
"Fly free, my friend," she added. "This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."
Better Together Anne and Heather/Instagram
A rep for Heche confirmed her death to PEOPLE on Aug. 12. The 53-year-old died a week after she was involved in a fiery crash on Aug. 5 that left her hospitalized in a coma with severe injuries. The home her vehicle collided into also became uninhabitable.
Heche never regained consciousness. After her official death, the Emmy winner's rep confirmed to PEOPLE that she was "peacefully taken off life support" on Sunday after an organ recipient match was found.
"Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend," a rep for Heche told PEOPLE on behalf of her loved ones. "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."
Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Anne Heche
Heche's death was ruled an accident, with additional indications that a "sternal fracture due to blunt trauma" was another "significant condition" from the crash. The Los Angeles Police Department declared "there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case," though they had previously been conducting a DUI investigation.
Before her death, Heche had been working on several acting projects, including starring on The Idol alongside The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp. She had also been co-hosting Better Together with Duffy since late 2020.
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