Hugh Hefner dead at 91

LOS ANGELES (WLS) — Publisher and icon Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at age 91, Playboy Enterprises, Inc., confirmed. His company said he died of natural causes, surrounded by family and friends at his home in Los Angeles.

“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. 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,” said Cooper Hefner, Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.

Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Ill. He served as a writer for a military newspaper in World War II, then worked in magazine publishing until he started Playboy Magazine in his home in 1953.

Hefner built a brand that defined the sexual culture of the second half of the 20th century.

Playboy’s buxom models were the objects of millions of men’s fantasies as Hefner challenged what he derided as America’s “Puritanical” attitudes toward sex.

For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant fantasy party at Playboy mansions in Chicago and then in Los Angeles.

Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, and his four grown children Christie, David, Marston and Cooper.