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

Hefner, who founded the sexually explicit men’s lifestyle magazine in 1953, died at his home, the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, the publication announced.
Cooper Hefner, Hefner’s son and the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, 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. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”
However, others described Hefner as a lecherous pornographer who launched has magazine with a naked centerfold of Marilyn Monroe, taken years earlier and bought for $500. The Playboy mansion also saw a pyjama-clad Hefner attended to by a posse of women clad in bunny ears, all of whom were expected to be sexually available.
Hefner, who was born in Chicago in 1926 to Methodist parents, served in the US army in the second world war, graduated from the University of Illinois and worked as a copywriter for Esquire before launching Playboy magazine in December 1953. The first issue, produced from his kitchen and financed with $8,000 from investors, sold more than 50,000 copies.
The magazine’s “progressive” approach to sexuality made it a controversial publication, albeit wildly popular, and during the course of Hefner’s lifetime the Playboy brand expanded to include film and print media products, clothing, fragrances, jewellery and accessories and more, all marked with its distinctive “bunny” logo. At the time of Hefner’s death, the magazine itself was published in more than 20 countries, with Playboy Enterprises claiming over $1bn in annual sales from its trademarked assets.

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