The founder of the Playboy empire, Hugh Hefner, has passed away at the age of 91 due to natural causes, according to his family and friends. Playboy shared the news through their social media.
According to the NY Daily News, Hefner is set to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, something he’s planned since 1992. The publisher bought the crypt next to Monroe’s for an alleged $75,000 25 years ago. It makes sense as Monroe was featured in the first issue of Playboy, and was part of how the magazine became so successful.
Controversial as he was, Hefner turned the creation of a magazine into an international brand and empire that spanned across decades and catapulted many of its models into fame. He revolutionized the publishing industry, during a time when it was considered risqué to publish the photos that Playboy had. Throughout his career, he worked with Marilyn Monroe, Paris Hilton, Holly Madison, Kim Kardashian, the Beatles, Madonna, and Barbara Streisand, to name a few. He coined the terms Playmate, Playboy Mansion, and Playboy Bunny for his brand and also created the immediately recognizable Playboy symbol, the bunny. After the success of the magazine, Hefner hosted the shows, Playboy Penthouse and Playboy After Dark.
Hefner was someone who practiced exactly what he preached through his lifestyle. Hefner’s son, Cooper, made a statement, “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 stated. “He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”
Hefner’s endeavors weren’t just limited to Playboy. The founder was also a strong advocate for gay marriage, racial equality, animal rescue missions, and Barack Obama’s re-election.
Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Jenny McCarthy, and Larry King have already tweeted over the news of his passing.
Rest in peace, Hef.