Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, died at age 91 on Wednesday at the Playboy Mansion, the publication said in a statement.
He died surrounded by loved ones from natural causes.
Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 and it became infamous for its seductive centerfolds. It remains one of the largest magazines in the US and around the world, with at least 20 licensed international editions.
“My father lived an exception and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leader voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom,” his son, and Playboy Enterprises’ chief creative officer, Cooper Hefner, said in a statement.
“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.”
— Playboy (@Playboy) September 28, 2017
Born in Chicago, Hefner served in the military and worked in journalism before founding Playboy in 1953, at age 27, with a small loan. The first issue of Playboy featured Maryiln Monroe in the centerfold, with images taken four years earlier, and was a hit. In 2011, Hefner bought the crypt next hers at the West Hollywood Cemetery, though the two never met.
In 1962, the magazine introduced the “Playboy Interview,” which was lauded for its great writing, but also known as a joke for people who just wanted to look at the pictures. He hosted two television shows related to the brand, Playboy’s Penthouse in 1959 and Playboy After Dark in 1969.
Hefner bought the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1971. The home remained his residence and office for the rest of his life.