John Heard, the Dad from Home Alone, Died of a Heart Attack, Says Coroner
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office tells PEOPLE the 71-year-old suffered “a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease.”
Despite previous speculation, the coroner says Heard’s back surgery shortly before his July 21 death did not play a role. “The manner of death is natural,” reads a statement from the coroner’s office.
With a four-decade career in Hollywood and more than 200 credits on stage and screen, Heard appeared in a number of well-known projects — including Gladiator, The Pelican Brief, White Chicks, NCIS: Los Angeles, and The Trip to Bountiful.
Perhaps his most popular role came in 1990’s Home Alone, in which he starred as Peter McCallister — the loving (yet forgetful) dad to Macaulay Culkin‘s Kevin. Heard reprised the role in the 1992 sequel.
RELATED: ‘Home Alone’ Actor John Heard Dead at 71
The Sopranos gave Heard another recognizable role as Vin Makazian — a New Jersey police detective who fed information to Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). He appeared in five episodes in the hit HBO series.
In Beaches, he played John Pierce — the love interest to Bette Midler’s C.C. Bloom who had a flirtatious relationship with C.C.’s bestie Hillary (Barbara Hershey).
He made his Broadway debut in 1973’s Warp and would return to the Broadway stage three more times —including in the 1983 revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, where he played the famed Gentleman Caller alongside Oscar winner Jessica Tandy.
“John was a wonderful person and such an incredible talent,” his manager said. “Only a small core group of family and friends knew just how generous and caring John was. He will be missed very much.”