Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, passes away aged 91; son Cooper issues statement

FP Staff

Sep,28 2017 09:26 59 IST

Hugh Hefner, the founder of America's iconic men's lifestyle magazine Playboy, has passed away at the age of 91. According to a statement released by Playboy Enterprises, the mogul died of natural causes at his much talked-about Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, California.

Hugh Hefner. Image from Twitter/@TheMasterBucks.

Hugh Hefner. Image from Twitter/@TheMasterBucks.

"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," said his son Cooper Hefner in a Playboy Enterprises statement.

Published for the first time in 1953, Playboy was a shift from traditional print magazines as it combined erotica with substance. With several renowned writers producing quality content, the magazine soon became an iconic property in pop-culture.

Here's the tweet from the enterprise:

The first issue of the magazine featured pictures of famed actress Marilyn Monroe from her 1949 nude calendar shoot and went on to sell about 50000 copies, which was a humongous number in those times.

Hefner ran Playboy from his elaborate mansions, first in Chicago and then in Los Angeles, and became the flamboyant symbol of the lifestyle he espoused. For decades he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant party with celebrities and Playboy models. One of rock n' roll's most decadent tours, the Rolling Stones shows of 1972, featured a stop at the Hefner mansion.

Playboy proved a scourge, and a temptation. Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who have posed for the magazine. Several bunnies became celebrities, too, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom had fond memories of their time with Playboy.

Other bunnies had traumatic experiences, with several alleging they had been raped by Hefner's close friend Bill Cosby, who faced dozens of such allegations. Hefner issued a statement in late 2014 he "would never tolerate this behavior." But two years later, former bunny Chloe Goins sued Cosby and Hefner for sexual battery, gender violence and other charges over an alleged 2008 rape.

Hefner loved movies throughout his life, calling them "my other family." He screened classic films and new releases at the mansion every week. Every year on his 9 April birthday, he'd run his favorite film, Casablanca, and invite guests to dress in the fashions of the 1940s.

Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, his sons, David, Cooper and Marston, and his daughter, Christie.

With inputs from AP.