Actor John Heard, best known for his role as Peter McCallister in the Home Alone films, has died at the age of 72.

His death was confirmed by the Santa Clara Medical Examiner's office in California on Saturday (22 July). TMZ reported that Heard, who lived in southern California, was found at a Palo Alto, California, hotel where he was recovering from back surgery. The cause of death is not yet known.

Born in Washington, Columbia in 1945, Heard's acting career began in 1977 and spanned TV and cinema until the present day.

Heard starred in TV shows Prison Break, CSI: Miami and The Sopranos.

But his most famous role came in Home Alone (1990) and sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), where he played Pete McCallister, father of Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin). The story of a family accidentally leaving their eight-year-old son Kevin at home as they jet off for a Christmas holiday was one of the biggest films of the 90s, grossing $285m (£220m) at the box office.

Heard's appearance in TV series The Sopranos as detective Vin Makazian in 1999 earned him an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series.

At the time of his death heard is credited with six films which are currently in post-production and yet to be released.

One of four children, Heard married three times, including to actress Margot Kidder for just six days in 1979. Heard is survived by behind sons John and Max, and daughter Annika.

Actor John heard
John Heard was best known for playing Kevin McCallister's father in Home Alone Getty Images