John Hughes Dies at 59, Molly Ringwald and Other Brat Packers Pay Tribute

Many of the actors who rose to fame in John Hughes' movies have begun expressing condolences for the director of iconic 1980s films such as "The Breakfast Club," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Pretty in Pink," who died Thursday of a heart attack at age 59 while visiting family in Manhattan.

Hughes made household names of a band of previously unknown teen actors who starred in his string of successful 1980s movies -- a group somewhat affectionately known as "The Brat Pack" that included Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe, Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald, who shot to fame after Hughes cast her in 1984's "Sixteen Candles."

VIDEO: The screenwriter and director died of an apparent heart attack at 59.
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Ringwald, a 41-year-old mother of three, also was featured in the writer-director's "Pretty in Pink" and "The Breakfast Club."

"I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes," Ringwald said in a statement released Thursday. "He was and will always be such an important part of my life."

"He will be missed -- by me and by everyone that he has touched," she added. "My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now."

Fellow Brat Packer Nelson said Hughes "always treated me with respect and consideration."

"He encouraged a real and active collaboration; he was most generous with his insight ... My heart breaks for his family ... I know many people whose lives were touched by John will be saddened today. I know I am," Nelson said.

VIDEO: Director John Hughes Dies
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Matthew Broderick, who starred in Hughes' 1986 comedy, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," also had fond memories of collaborating with the man behind some of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s.

"I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes," Broderick said in a statement. "He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."

Hughes also scripted the phenomenally popular "Home Alone," which made little-known Macaulay Culkin a sensation as the 8-year-old accidentally abandoned by his vacationing family, and he wrote or directed such hits as "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" and "Uncle Buck."

"I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person," Culkin said. "The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."

Actor and director Bill Paxton credited Hughes for launching his career by casting him as bullying older brother Chet in the 1985 film "Weird Science."

"He took a tremendous chance on me," Paxton said. "Like Orson Welles, he was a boy wonder, a director's director, a writer's writer, a filmmaker's filmmaker. He was one of the giants."

Devin Ratray, best known for playing Culkin's older brother Buzz McCallister in the "Home Alone" films, said he remained close to Hughes over the years.

"He changed my life forever," Ratray said. "Nineteen years later, people from all over the world contact me telling me how much 'Home Alone' meant to them, their families, and their children."

Other famous names in Hollywood have echoed similar sentiments:

"John Hughes's iconic films gave a powerful voice to a generation. He will be missed but never forgotten!" actress Demi Moore released in a statement.

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