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John Heard died of a heart attack, says county cororner

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2017-08-16 Maria Puente
Actor John Heard at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20, 2006 in Park City, Utah. © Mark Mainz, Getty Images Actor John Heard at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20, 2006 in Park City, Utah.

John Heard, the Home Alone movie star found dead in a Palo Alto, Calif., hotel room last month, died of natural causes — a heart attack, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office said Tuesday. 

Following an autopsy, the office issued a statement declaring Heard died "a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease."  

His recent back surgery at nearby Stanford Medical Center did not play a role in his death, the brief statement said. 

The coroner listed Heard's birthday as March 7, 1946, making him 71 when he was found on July 21.

In addition to his role as Peter McAllister in the Home Alone franchise, Heard also starred as a co-worker to Tom Hanks in the 1988 comedy Big and a dirty cop in the first season of HBO's The Sopranos, for which he earned a guest-acting Emmy nomination in 1999.

Heard's other credits include films The Milagro Beanfield War and Beaches (both released in 1988) and the John Grisham adaptation The Pelican Brief (1993).  He also starred in the TV adaptation of the author's 1993 novel The Client and had guest roles in the CSI franchise.

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