“Breakfast Club” Director John Hughes Dies of Heart Attack

Eighties film icon, writer/director John Hughes died today of a heart attack. He was 59 years old. Hughes was the director of such hits as the “Home Alone” franchise, “The Breakfast Club”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” and “Uncle Buck.” Hughes was in Manhattan visiting relatives when he suffered at heart attack during a morning walk. It was reported that Hughes had become somewhat reclusive in his last few years, so it is unknown what his health was like prior to today.

A heart attack is the common way of saying that a person suffered a myocardial infarction. This means that the blood supply to the heart muscle (myocardium) became blocked, depriving the heart muscle of oxygen. The muscle dies and the heart stops functioning normally. The heart’s blood supply comes from three major blood vessels, called the coronary arteries, which can become blocked by build-up of cholesterol called a plaque. If one of the smaller tributaries of these blood vessels become totally obstructed, a small area of heart muscle is affected, but with immediate medical attention, this is quite survivable. Total blockage of larger coronary arteries may cause enough damage to cause sudden death.

Signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest discomfort- inthe center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or thatgoes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure,squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body- including pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

If you think you, or someone you are with, is having a heart attack, call 911. This is a medical emergency!



Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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