His publicist said Hughes died while taking a morning walk during a trip to Manhattan, Variety reported
Hughes, born Feb. 18, 1950, in Michigan, began his career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago.
He was known for incorporating popular music to move his movies along, as well as using Chicago for a backdrop and casting actors he worked with on previous movies.
While a writer for National Lampoon magazine, Hughes wrote the hit comedy "National Lampoon's Vacation" in 1983, followed by his directorial debut in 1984 with "Sixteen Candles." In 1990, he wrote and produced the blockbuster hit "Home Alone" and its sequels.
His last directorial effort was "Curly Sue" in 1991.
After a prolific career of writing, directing and producing films that appealed to teen, tween and adult audiences, Hughes pulled back from his involvement in film work, maintaining a farm in northern Illinois and supporting independent arts, Variety reported.
Hughes is survived by his wife, Nancy; two sons, John and James; and four grandchildren.