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Hollywood Mourns the Death of Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner

Tributes are pouring in for the late icon.

Hugh Hefner, the legendary founder of Playboy, has passed away, Playboy Enterprises announced on Wednesday

Hefner "peacefully passed away" from natural causes at his Beverly Hills home, the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones, according to the announcement. He was 91 years old. 

Hefner founded what would become one of the most iconic global brands in American history, Playboy, in 1953. Published in more than 20 countries, Playboy has become the largest-selling men's magazine, which, along with other products featuring the company's trademarks, brings in more than $1 billion annually. 

"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," Cooper Hefner, the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises said in a statement. "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."


Hefner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980 after leading the way for the reconstruction of the Hollywood sign. He also picked up several other accolades during his career, including getting inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Society of Magazine Editors in 1998, getting inducted into the New York Friars Club as an honorary friar when he was roasted on Comedy Central in 2001, and becoming a Guinness Book of World Records holder for being the longest running editor of a magazine. 

In addition to making many memorable movie cameos in films such as Beverly Hills Cop II and The House Bunny, Hefner left his mark on the world of TV. Not only was he the host of the series Playboy's Penthouse, but he also later starred in the reality show The Girls Next Door, which focused on the lives of his then-girlfriends Holly Madison, Bridget Marquadt, and Kendra Wilkinson. A docuseries about his life, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, debuted earlier this year. 

Wilkinson paid tribute to Hefner in a statement to PEOPLE. “Hef changed my life. He made me the person I am today," she said. "I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together. I will miss him so much but he will be in my heart forever." 

Marquadt also honored her ex-boyfriend on Instagram. "So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences," she captioned a photo of herself and Hefner.

So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences #RIPHef #Playboy 💔

A post shared by Bridget Marquardt (@bridgetmarquardt) on

 

Tributes continue to pour in from Hefner's famous friends, colleagues, and fans on social media.

Goodbye #Hef Mr Hefner I have so many thoughts, I have no brain n right now to edit I am me because of you You taught me everything important about freedom and respect. Outside of my family You were the most important person in my life. You gave me my life... People tell me all the time That I was your favorite... I'm in such deep shock. But you were old, your back hurt you so much. Last time I saw you You were using a walker. You didn't want me to see. You couldn't hear. You had a piece of paper in your pocket you showed me - with my name Pamela with a heart around it. Now, I'm falling apart. This feeling is so crazy. It's raining in Paris now. I'm by the window. Everything anyone loves about me is because you understood me. Accepted me and encouraged me to be myself. Love like no one else. Live recklessly With unfiltered abandon. You said the magazine was about a girl like me. That I embody the spirit you fantasized about. I was the one. You said. I can hear you say - Be brave. There are no rules. Live your life I'm proud of you. There are no mistakes. And with men - Enjoy ... (Your wonderful laugh) You have the world by the tail You are a good girl And you are so loved - You are not crazy. You are wild and free Stay strong, Stay vulnerable. ... "It's movie time" You loved my boys ... You were always, always there for us. With your love Your crazy wisdom. I will miss your everything. Thank you for making the world a better place. A freeer and sexier place. You were a gentleman charming, elegant, chivalrous And so much fun. Goodbye Hef ... Your Pamela 💋

A post shared by The Pamela Anderson Foundation (@pamelaanderson) on

The man , the legend , the one and only #hughhefner #RIPHef #icon 🐰

A post shared by Kyle Richards Umansky (@kylerichards18) on

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Holly Madison Hugh Hefner Kendra Wilkinson Beyond Bravo

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