Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

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Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died of natural causes aged 91 surrounded by loved ones at his infamous $100million...

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, has died aged 91.

Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois, and went on to become a millionaire after founding the influential men's magazine in 1953.

On Wednesday night the official Playboy Twitter account announced: 'American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef'.

Hefner's death was confirmed in a statement from Playboy Enterprises that said he 'passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.'

Hefner's son, Cooper Hefner, who is also the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said: 'My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.

'He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.

'He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.' 

On Wednesday night, as news of Hefner's death began to circulate, mourners began to gather at the gates of his Playboy Mansion to pay their last respects.

Hefner will be buried in an LA cemetery next to Marilyn Monroe - Playboy's first-ever cover star - in a plot that Hefner bought in 1992 for $75,000.

In the final years of his life, Hefner - who had begun to suffer back problems - began to fade from view, not wanting to be seen using a walker to move around, or be seen fiddling with his hearing aid.

Hefner's widow, Crystal, 31, was the third of his wives, having married him in 2012.

Despite declaring that he had slept with more than a thousand women, Hefner spent much of his life 'looking for love in all the wrong places,' as he tearfully told The New York Times in 1992.

Hefner married Crystal (pictured left) - and took up a life of monogamy - in 2012 after briefly calling off the engagement.'Maybe I should be single,' he said a few months later.

'But I do know that I need an ongoing romantic relationship. In other words, I am essentially a very romantic person, and all I really was looking for, quite frankly, with the notion of marriage was continuity and something to let the girl know that I really cared.'

The year before their marriage, he had mused: 'I never really found my soulmate.'

As news of Hefner's death spread online, celebrities gathered to pay tribute.

'RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I’m so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo,' Kim Kardashian West tweeted.

She then added: Paris [Hilton] & I are reminiscing about the Playboy parties at the mansion & how much we love Hef. She’s texts me the perfect Hef emojis,' followed by eight Playboy Bunny emojis and an old man emoji.

Hilton herself posted a photo of herself in the famous Playboy Bunny outfit, along with Hefner, on Instagram.

Larry King - Hefner's junior at 81 - tweeted: 'Hugh Hefner was a GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights. He was a true original, and he was my friend. Rest well Hef.'

And Heidi Montag, who posed for Playboy in 2009, wrote: 'RIP @hughhefner thank you for making me part of the Playboy family. Sending lots of love and prayers to @crystalhefner.'

One person who had not commented on Hefner's passing as of 1:30am EST Thursday was President Donald Trump, who appeared on the magazine's cover in 1990 - much to Hefner's chargrin.

Hefner was born Hugh Marston Hefner in 1926 and grew up in a strict Methodist family.

Despite his family's conservatism, his mother gave him a $1,000 loan to publish Playboy - 'Not because she believed in the venture,' he would later say, 'but because she believed in her son.'

The magazine hit with a splash, selling 50,000 copies of its first issue - which featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover - and went on to have seven million subscribers by its second year.

As its star rose, so too did Hefner - and he went on to amass a huge personal wealth that peaked at $200 million.  

In 1971, Hefner spent $1.1 million (the equivalent of $6 million today) to buy up what would become known as the Playboy Mansion, a 21,987-square-foot LA building.

With a waterfall, swimming pool, secluded grotto and even a wine cellar hidden behind a Prohibition-era secret door, the mansion became the place for Hollywood celebrities to be seen at Hefner's famous Playboy parties.

He also became a vocal proponent of equal rights for gay people and black Americans; among those interviewed for Playboy was Malcolm X.

But as time wore on Playboy began to face stiffer competition, first from softcore pornography magazines such as Penthouse in 1969, then later from harder fare such as Larry Flynt's Hustler, which debuted in 1974.

Cooper Hefner made the decision in 2015 to drop frontal nudity from Playboy in order to pitch it more as a Vanity Fair-style luxury lifestyle magazine. 

The first nudity-free issue was released in March 2016; Hefner reportedly fought the removal of cartoons from the magazine more than the nudity.

However, in February 2017 the decision was reversed, and the nudity - along with the jokes sections among other elements dropped in the redesign - was restored. 

Hugh - who has two other children, Christie and David, from his relationship with Mildred - said: 'All our friends think it's made in heaven. It's only people who don't know us, who simply see us as stereotypes in terms of age and beauty. 

"I just feel very, very fortunate to have found her at this stage in my life. I saved the best till last. 

'I want the rest of my life to be very much like it is now. I want it to be like this.' 

The magazine magnate used to have multiple live-in girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion and his life with Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson was shown in reality TV series The Girls Next Door (pictured left).

Source: Daily Mail

Author's Corner

Rebecca Daniels
37 articles

I've always been fascinated by human sexuality and I really enjoy writing about many different aspects of it - such as swinging and open relationships, and providing general relationship and sex advice. I often write other general interest news pieces, including celeb goss and fashion.

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Posted: Sep, 30 2017
RIP Hef , going to be hard to beat but we all hope your in a better place rite now .
Posted: Sep, 29 2017
Nobody has said hes gone to a better place
Posted: Sep, 28 2017
I can feel a Playboy party coming on! RIP Hef.
Posted: Sep, 28 2017
What an incredible person, an amazing rule breaker who redefined the expression of sexuality for all of us. I hope he will be remembered with genuine respect for his support of sexual freedom for everyone in all walks of life. Looking forward to the movie....
Posted: Sep, 28 2017
I have never seen a 91 year old look so happy as old Hugh always did..
Posted: Sep, 28 2017
Sad moment and loss of a wonderful man
Posted: Sep, 28 2017
Won't need little blue pills to stay stiff now

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