Hugh Hefner passes away at the age of 91

By Andrea Caamano

Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, has died aged 91. Playboy Enterprises, Inc. announced the sad news via a statement which read: "Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones."

Hugh is survived by his third wife, Crystal Harris, and his four children: Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years; David, Marston and Cooper, 26, who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at the company.

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Hugh Hefner with Crystal Harris
Hugh Hefner with his third wife Crystal Harris

The icon's youngest son, who was regularly pictured with his father at his annual parties, said in a statement: "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."

Hugh Hefner with son, Cooper
The American icon has four children, pictured above with Cooper

"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," he added.

Hugh Hefner with Crystal Harris
Hugh with celebrity friend Pamela Anderson

Hugh and his third wife Crystal, 30, married in 2012 after the bride previously canceled the first wedding due to "cold feet". The couple signed an iron-clad pre-nup agreement and it is thought Crystal will not inherit anything. In 2013, US Weekly revealed that Hugh's $43 million fortune will be divided among his four children, the University of Southern California, as well as a list of charities the star supports.

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