Hugh Hefner, iconic founder of Playboy Magazine, passed away peacefully on Wednesday in his beloved Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones. He was 91 years old. Hef, as he was known to friends and admirers, was best known as the man who brought “smut” to the masses. He started Playboy Magazine in 1952, buoyed by investors (including his mom) who believed in his vision of a new type of magazine. The first issue featured a 5-year old photo of a nude Marilyn Monroe on the cover, and sold out in days. And thus, Playboy was born.
As news of the death of Hugh Hefner traveled, people took to social media to remember him.
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 (@KimKardashian) September 28, 2017
— ParisHilton (@ParisHilton) September 28, 2017
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. pic.twitter.com/bJ1wxoK4gR
— Larry King (@kingsthings) September 28, 2017
Fun fact: Hugh Hefner was an early LGBT ally, and featured a trans model in Playboy way back in 1991. https://t.co/ALgyZJh99n
— shauna (@goldengateblond) September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner was a complicated individual, to say the least. He was a champion of free speech and civil rights. Paradoxically, he also made a fortune on the objectification and monetization of women and their bodies. Hef understood that sex sells, and arguably, he sold it.
Wait, is it possible Hugh Hefner did good AND bad things? But… But… *robot head explodes, humans escape from robot hot tub*
— Joss Whedon (@joss) September 28, 2017
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) September 28, 2017
I've worked for Larry Flynt. Known many that worked for #HughHefner. Even if you dislike the method, they protected your freedom of speech.
— Doughgasm (@Doughgasm) September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/oL3lKLZRQ5
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 28, 2017
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) September 28, 2017
In addition to his magazine empire, Hef found success in television, too. The hit E! show The Girls Next Door followed his life in the mansion with girlfriends, Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson-Bassett, and Bridget Marquardt.
Kendra and Bridget have spoken out about the loss of Hefner. Kendra told People Magazine, “Hef changed my life. He made me the person I am today. I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together. I will miss him so much but he will be in my heart forever.” Bridget took to Instagram to share her condolences. Holly has yet to comment on the news.
Hef’s current wife, Crystal Harris, hasn’t released a statement of her own. However, his son Cooper released a statement on behalf of the family.
”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 said. ”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.”
Love him or hate him, it’s hard to argue against Hugh Hefner’s legacy. He left a mark on the world that won’t soon be forgotten, and he was revered and reviled for it. Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, and children Cooper, Christie, David, and Marston.
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(Image: Instagram / @hughhefner)