WASHINGTON – Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday at the age of 91 at his home, the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, his company said.
Hefner died a natural death, said Playboy Enterprises, the parent company of the Playboy empire.
Playboy also tweeted a photo of Hefner with one of his quotes, “life is too short to be living someone else’s dream.”
Born in Chicago in 1926, Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 after the management of Esquire magazine, where he was working, denied him a $5 raise.
The first issue of the magazine was published in 1953 with the actress Marilyn Monroe appearing dressed on the cover, but nude on a red velvet bed in the inside pages.
“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 Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises.
Under the direction of Hefner, Playboy continued to transgress prevalent social norms with the appearance of Darine Stern on the cover in October 1971, the first African-American to have done so; and in November 1975, when the magazine showed model Patricia Margot McClain apparently about to masturbate in a movie theatre.
Hefner was known for his wild parties in the Playboy Mansion and for being surrounded by women far younger than him.
He married three times and had four children. His last wife was Crystal Harris, who was 26 years old, while Hefner was 86 when they tied the knot in 2012.