Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, has died aged 91.
Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois, and went on to become a millionaire after founding the influential men’s magazine in 1953.
On Wednesday night the official Playboy Twitter account announced: ‘American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef’.
Hugh Hefner, founder of pioneering men’s magazine Playboy, has died aged 91 in the Playboy Mansion. He was surrounded by loved ones, a statement said
Hefner’s death was confirmed to People in a statement that said he ‘passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.’
Hefner’s son, Cooper Hefner, who is also the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, 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.
‘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.’
Hefner was born Hugh Marston Hefner in 1926 and grew up in a strict Methodist family.
He signed up to the Army during the Second World War, and drew cartoons for Army newspapers until his honorable discharge in 1946.
Despite his family’s conservatism, his mother gave him a $1,000 loan to publish Playboy – ‘Not because she believed in the venture but because she believed in her son.’
The magazine hit with a splash, featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe on the cover, and went on to become one of America’s most famous publications.