We were all saddened to learn that actor John Heard passed away in his hotel room last month.
Though of course his family and friends remember him fondly and grieve more deeply, we all know him from his work in films and the ways in which he touched our lives through the screen.
Now, however, we know his cause of death. We hope that this information has brought closure to his family.
John Heard passed away on July 21st, 2017 at the age of 72 years.
He was an actor who played many roles, often bit parts, though he played the leading man in his younger days.
This century, he is easily recognized by fans of Battlestar Galactica and The Sopranos.
For the latter, he was nominated for an Emmy.
John Heard is probably most well known, and will always be most well known, for his role as the father in the Home Alone movie franchise.
It’s not a huge role, but the 1990 hit Home Alone is at least as much a Christmas classic as Die Hard and is beloved by multiple generations.
John Heard’s cause of death was initially not disclosed — since the coroner needed to make a full examination.
This very naturally caused some speculation.
Heard’s third ex-wife, Lana Pritchard, offered up a theory about John Heard’s tragic passing.
She pointed to the back surgery that he’d received two days prior.
(Many had thought of the surgery, honestly, as the timing is … conspicuous)
Pritchard suggested that perhaps John Heard had overdosed.
He would not have been the first actor to die of an overdose in a hotel room, because the world is full of tragedy.
The medical examiner, however, paints a different picture.
TMZ reports that John Heard died of a heart attack.
The specific cause of death was: “sudden cardiac death due to atheroscerotic and hypertensive heart disease.”
In other words, his heart attack was caused by heart disease.
That is often the case.
Though Heard was staying in the hotel while he recovered from his minor back surgery, the official determination was that it was not the cause of his heart attack.
(It’s hard to imagine that the surgery didn’t apply at least some stress to his cardiovascular system, but that’s not the same thing as a medical cause)
One of John Heard’s costars, Daniel Stern, penned a touching tribute to John Heard after hearing of his death.
The cause of death, frankly, won’t change anything.
Except perhaps putting an end to rumors of drug overdoses and who knows what else.
Like other actors who die, John Heard should be remembered for his life and for his work.
Not for the manner of his death.