Filmmaker John Hughes, who made some of the most memorable teen comedies of the 1980s, died suddenly of a heart attack in New York on Thursday at the age of 59.
His films include Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
The movies are considered standard-bearers of the teen genre, exploring American adolescent behavior with warmth and affection.
"Many filmmakers portray teenagers as immoral and ignorant with pursuits that are pretty base," Hughes told the Chicago Tribune in 1985 as he was about to release The Breakfast Club, his second directing effort.
"They seem to think that teenagers aren't very bright. But I haven't found that to be the case. I listen to kids. I respect them. I don't discount anything they have to say just because they're only 16 years-old."
In 1990, Hughes struck gold by writing and producing Home Alone, in which Culkin played an 8-year-old left to fend for himself against hapless burglars.
The film grossed almost $US500 million worldwide, a timely savior for 20th Century Fox's owner, News Corp, which was strapped for cash and struggling to pay its creditors at the time.
He worked with the late John Candy on two hits, Planes, Trains & Automobiles in 1987 and Uncle Buck in 1989.
Hughes, who had largely turned his back on Hollywood in the past decade to become a farmer in the Midwestern state of Illinois, collapsed while strolling in Manhattan, where he was visiting friends.