Actor John Heard died of natural causes | News | Palo Alto Online |


Actor John Heard died of natural causes

Coroner's report finds 71-year-old suffered a 'sudden cardiac death' after back surgery

Actor John Heard, best known for his role as the father in the movie "Home Alone," died of natural causes, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office said today in a press release.

Heard, 71, was found in a Palo Alto hotel room on July 21 at about 2:11 p.m. by a maid at the Sheraton Hotel at 625 El Camino Real, according to a report from celebrity news website TMZ. He was recovering from back surgery he had at Stanford Medical Center and police pronounced dead at the scene, according to TMZ.

"Mr. Heard died a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease. Mr. Heard's recent back surgery did not play a role in his death. The manner of death is natural," the coroner's office said in the statement.

There were no signs of foul play in Heard's death, according to the medical examiner's office. Toxicology tests followed an initial autopsy, and medications were apparently not a factor in his death.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


14 people like this
Posted by Macaulay Culkin
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm

[Post removed.]

6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

>%gt; Actor John Heard, best known for his role as the father in the movie "Home Alone,"

Heard was a very good actor. He had many real roles other than this cartoon type movie where
he played a cartoon dad.

[Portion removed.]

Heard was one of my favorite actors of his time ... the late 70's and 80's. "Chilly Scenes of
Winter" and "Mindwalk" are two of my favorite movies, and they have real parts with real acting,
different from "Home Alone" which I would not waste a minute of time to watch.

So sad that Heard passed away. Condolences to his family and friends ... rest in peace John.

23 people like this
Posted by GrandmaKK
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:29 am

As a non-medical-professional, lay person with long-standing hypertensive disease, it would seem if Mr. Heard's diseases were known, as they should have been, he probably shouldn't have had the surgery or been released so early after he did have it.
Is this coroner covering for Stanford?

14 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:36 am

GrandmaKK, that was my thought as well.

I am curious if the reporter could find out what is the deciding factor
to determine if Mr. Heard's heart attack was related to surgery or pain
pills or not, and with all the legal problems some of the drug companies
have had with their pain medication and increases rates of heart attack,
is there something here that is being glossed over?

6 people like this
Posted by GrandmaKK
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Sheesh, everyone, why does everything have to be a conspiracy theory? That someone chooses to recuperate in a hotel after an outpatient surgery makes perfect sense if they live out of the area. Maybe it was best to stay around for the post-surgical follow-up visit. Being hypertensive and having heart disease doesn't preclude you from having a surgery needed to improve function or reduce pain, it just means that precautions are put in place.

Please be respectful and don't taint someone's memory with accusations of illicit drug use when you have absolutely no access to factual information.

1 person likes this
Posted by green gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:45 pm

The V has an excellent physical therapy for those having surgery at Stanford Hospital, and they also have very good food.

6 people like this
Posted by PM
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Stanford has became very bad in treating patients & very good in overbilling.
Not sure who's a current chief of staff, when it was Dr.Weinacker, it was much better

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Los Altos's State of Mind opening NYC-inspired pizza shop in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 16 comments | 8,444 views

Wait, wait – we’re working on it
By Diana Diamond | 19 comments | 2,614 views

My Pet Peeves
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 8 comments | 2,045 views

Goodbye toy stores
By Cheryl Bac | 9 comments | 1,357 views

Premarital and Couples: Here Be Dragons!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,340 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details