Hugh Hefner, American founder of the international adult magazine Playboy, has died at the age of 91.
Playboy Enterprises Inc said he passed away peacefully at home in Los Angeles, from natural causes.
Hefner successfully tapped into a new generation of Americans who were enjoying rising standards of living in the boom years of the 1950s and 60s. A political activist and philanthropist, he produced not just a magazine, but a whole lifestyle that started with the publication of Playboy in his kitchen in 1953. It went on to become the largest-selling men’s magazine in the world, with seven million copies a month being sold at its peak.
Playboy’s iconic bow-tie-wearing rabbit outfit that Hefner launched also became one of the most recognised brands of the 20th Century. The Playboy brand made him a multi-millionaire, spawning a business empire that included casinos and nightclubs.
Cooper Hefner, his son, said he would be “greatly missed by many”. He paid tribute to his father’s “exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer,” and called him an advocate for free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.
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