08/06/2009 AT 5:00 PM ET
John Hughes died of a heart attack on Thursday, his spokeswoman confirmed. The director was 59.
Hughes, who directed the beloved ’80s films The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, was visiting family in Manhattan when he had a heart attack during a morning walk, the Associated Press reports.
The writer-director, who lived in the Chicago area and set many of his films there, is credited with making Molly Ringwald, who appeared in his 1984 movie Sixteen Candles, a star.
“In the last decade, he stepped back from the legacy he created to enjoy time with his family, maintain a functioning farm in northern Illinois and support independent arts,” his reps said in a statement.
Hughes is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, two sons, John and James, and four grandchildren.