The 'Playboy' founder was 91.
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy
There were men, and then there was Hugh Hefner. The iconoclastic founder of the Playboy empire has died at home of natural causes, the magazine's official Twitter account confirmed on Wednesday. He was 91.
A former copywriter for Esquire, Hefner founded Playboy in 1953. More than just a lad's mag, Playboy became famous for publishing long-form journalism by some of the world's most renowned writers alongside its centerfolds. At its peak in the 1970s, the magazine had amassed a readership of around seven million. While its influence dwindled in subsequent decades, the vast cultural impact of the Playboy brand—epitomized by the notorious party scene centered on Hefner's Playboy Mansion—is undeniable.
Hefner is survived by wife, Crystal Hefner, and four children. He was married three times previously. His son Cooper, chief creative officer at Playboy Enterprises, released a statement Wednesday night:
"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."
According to the Guardian, Hefner famously paid $75,000 for the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe's at Westwood Cemetery in Los Angeles in 1992, with the intention of being buried there.
"It will be easier to perpetuate my story when I'm not around," Hefner told the New York Times back in 2011. "Because then nobody will be pissed off that I'm still getting laid."
Rest in peace—and, presumably, a monogrammed robe.