American icon and legendary Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91. The sad news was announced was by Playboy Enterprises Inc, who revealed that he passed away at the Playboy Mansion surrounded by loved ones. He died of natural causes.
No other man in history is as synonymous with sex as Hugh Hefner. After founding his legendary magazine in 1953, the Playboy mogul changed attitudes around the world towards sex – breaking with the conservatism that had dominated 1950s American culture. Whilst Playboy is famed for the naked women who dominate its pages, Hefner used it as a platform to not only create more liberal attitudes towards sex, but break with other then cultural taboos by speaking out about America’s outdated sodomy laws. Hefner claimed to have slept with over 1,000 women and became notorious in the early noughties for his hareem of blond-haired, big-busted girlfriends. The eternal bachelor settled down for the last time in 2012 by marrying his third wife playmate Crystal Harris. Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal and his four children. His son Cooper released the following statement about his father’s death:
“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.”
The real-life Gatsby was the embodiment of the American Dream in all its glory, and he will be laid to rest in the most legendary of places. The first issue of Playboy‘s success can be attributed to naked photographs of Marilyn Monroe, which were shot for a calendar in 1949. It was the first time the star had been featured in a magazine nude and in color. Prior to founding Playboy, Hefner had worked as a copywriter for Esquire, but quit when he was denied a $5 raise. The first issue of Playboy cost $8,000 to produce (a sum Hefner borrowed from various sources) and sold over 50,000 copies. Now, Hefner will be buried alongside his first ever covergirl Marilyn Monroe at the Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. He bought the crypt next to Monroe’s for $75,000 in 1992. Monroe is widely regarded the greatest sex symbol of the 20th century so this is a fitting end to Hefner’s legendary life. The Hollywood icon tragically died of a drug overdose in 1962. She was 36 years old. Whilst many people have speculated that Hefner and Monroe were lovers, the Playboy mogul said that the two never actually met – although they did speak on the phone. Hefner admitted that he would have liked to have dated her. Hefner promoted a lifestyle in his magazine that men around the world began to dream of, but only he actually got to live. He spent his twilight years hosting extravagant parties at the Playboy Mansion which were attended by some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Following the news of Hefner’s death, countless stars paid tribute to him on social media. Paris Hilton took to Instagram to pay tribute to Hefner, writing, “So sad to hear the news about @HughHefner. He was a #Legend, innovator, genius, one of a kind with a heart of gold. We had so many fun & incredible memories together. I will miss him dearly. Rest In Peace my friend.” Hefner’s former girlfriend Bridget Marquardt also paid tribute to the Playboy mogul. She alongside Hefner’s other girlfriends Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson was featured in one of reality TV’s most successful early shows The Girls Next Door, which documented their lives in the Playboy Mansion from 2005 to 2009. “So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences #RIPHef #Playboy,” Marquardt wrote. We wish Hefner’s family condolences during this sad time. In the immortal word’s of the man himself, “Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.”
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