In Brief

Hugh Hefner dead, aged 91

Magazine founder died of ‘natural causes’ at home in Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, has died at the age of 91.

Describing him as “the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine”, a statement from Playboy Enterprises said Hefner “peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones”.

He was, says the Los Angeles Times, “the incurable playboy who built a publishing and entertainment empire on the idea that Americans should shed their puritanical hang-ups and enjoy sex”.

The magazine, which at its peak sold more than six million copies a month, provoked a feminist backlash in the 1960s and, more recently, sales plummeted as the internet cornered the porn market.

Nevertheless, Hefner “amassed a fortune estimated to be worth $43 million and became a pop culture icon, appearing in episodes of The Simpsons, Sex and The City, and in a reality TV show about the women at his Playboy Mansion,” reports the ABC.

Cooper Hefner, Hugh's son, paid tribute last night. “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer,” he said, “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.”

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