Founder of the iconic Playboy group, Hugh Hefner, has passed away at the age of 91.
He died at his popular home, the Playboy Mansion, of natural causes on Wednesday, his family said in a statement.
Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago on 9 April 1926, the son of two teachers with strong religious views.
Hefner created the magazine with $600 over 60 years ago, with the first centerfold featuring the equally iconic Marilyn Monroe.
Hefner set out to exploit the success of his magazine with the opening of the first Playboy club in Chicago in 1960, which introduced the Playboy bunny waitresses.
“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,” Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises’ chief creative officer and Hugh’s son, said in the statement.
“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 younger Hefner said.
The statement said Playboy magazine was aimed at more than the market for nude images.
“Hefner took a progressive approach not only to sexuality and humor, but also to literature, politics and culture,” the statement said, calling the “Playboy Interview,” or an extensive discussion between a well-known person and an interviewer, a “standard setter.”
Hefner was survived by his wife, Crystal, his sons, Cooper, David and Marston, and his daughter, Christie, the statement said.
Rest in peace, Hef.