Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is dead. He died Wednesday night at the age of 91, leaving behind four children, from his first two marriages, and his final wife, Crystal Harris, 31-year old Playboy Playmate of the Month for December 2009.
Playboy Enterprises announced his death on Twitter last night and released a statement saying Hefner died at his home of natural causes surrounded by family.
Shortly after, Hefner’s son Cooper released a statement recalling his father’s “exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer.”
Below is a statement by Cooper.
Even in death, Hef retains his rakish savoir faire: In 1992, he paid $75,000 to obtain the vault next to Marilyn Monroe, thereby ensuring he could spend eternity with Playboy’s first cover girl.
Hefner first learned his way around a magazine as a copywriter for Esquire. But when he was deined a raise there, he sold what little furniture he had and laid the foundation for a publishing empire.
In 1953, Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring naked photos of Marilyn Monroe and an editorial promise of “humor, sophistication and spice.”