Hefner founded Playboy Magazine in 1953, taking $8,000 in borrowed money to develop the publication, building it into an iconic brand.
Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner died, Playboy Enterprises confirmed in a press release on Wednesday night. He was 91. The organization said Hefner died of natural causes at his home and was surrounded by friends and family.
Hefner’s son Cooper, the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in the company press release: “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.”
The entertainment icon was born Hugh Marston Hefner on April 9, 1926. He founded Playboy Magazine in 1953, taking $8,000 in borrowed money to develop the publication, eventually building it into an iconic media empire, The Hollywood Reporter wrote on Wednesday.
Playboy’s buxom models were the objects of millions of men’s fantasies as Hefner challenged what he derided as America’s “Puritanical” attitudes toward sex.
For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant fantasy party at Playboy mansions in Chicago and then in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.