Playboy founder and icon Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for the men’s magazine said. He was 91. Hefner passed of natural causes at his home, the famed Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, surrounded by loved ones. Burial details and memorial plans are presently unknown.
“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,” his son and current Playboy Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner said in a statement.
“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,” Cooper added. Playboy began on Hefner’s kitchen table 64 years ago, his official obit says, and spawned a branded empire that encompasses print and digital publications, merchandise and other portfolio companies. “By putting up his furniture as collateral for a loan and borrowing the rest from family and friends, Mr. Hefner published the very first issue of Playboy in December of 1953. It was an instant sensation,” Hefner’s bio reads.
A symbol of progressive (and excessive) sexual liberation, Playboy was a hotbed of star writers during the heyday of magazine journalism — a place where nudes existed beside essays and profiles from Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Margaret Atwood, Jack Kerouac and Kurt Vonnegut.
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