Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91. The groundbreaking magazine publisher was surrounded by loved ones when he passed away from natural causes earlier today (Sept. 27).
Known for transcending Playboy into one of the most notable magazines of its kind, Hefner’s son Christian and Playboy Chief Creative Officer 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,” in a statement to People.
Hefner, an army vet, decided to launch Playboy while working in the publishing industry and launched the controversial magazine’s first cover with Marilyn Monroe in December 1953.
Over the years, Hefner went on to star in the six-season E! reality series Girls Next Door with acclaimed Playboy playmates Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt.
According to People, Hefner his acclaimed Playboy Mansion to his neighbor Daren Metropoulos for $200 million with the stipulation that he’d lived there until his death.
See how celebrities and fans deeply influenced by Hugh Hefner are reacting to his death:
RIP Hugh Hefner. Talk about living life!!!!— Gary Owen (@garyowencomedy) September 28, 2017
RIP to Hugh Hefner who I recently learned gave Dick Gregory the money to find the slain Civil Rights workers in 1964 https://t.co/uHmezW1JY6— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) September 28, 2017
Damn we lost a legend. RIP @hughhefner , the original Playboy ✊🏾— Paeter (@PeeInTheAir) September 28, 2017
Hate on @hughhefner all ya want about pornography, but he was an absolute believer in 1st Amendment. That is part of his legacy. RIP, Hef.— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) September 28, 2017
(Photo: Dan Tuffs/Getty Images)