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Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at age 91, according to Playboy Enterprises. Hefner died of natural causes in his home—the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills—late last night.
Hefner famously capitalized on the sexual revolution of the ‘50s and ‘60s when he founded Playboy Magazine, a publication that combined serious fiction and journalistic interviews with nude photos of women.
Since Playboy’s first issue in 1953, the magazine has inspired lively debate about whether Hefner’s work liberated women or degraded them. Even as the news of Hefner’s death spread through the internet last night, fans and critics debated whether the original “ladies man” provided women a new platform or just objectified them.
Hugh Hefner was not great. Hugh Hefner was a sleazeball who made millions from the objectification of women. How can anyone celebrate him?— Lunga Biyela (@KingBiyela) September 28, 2017
A very significant and telling fact about late 20th century social history is that Hugh Hefner helped to fund Roe v Wade.— Niall Gooch (@niall_gooch) September 28, 2017
There r certainly some ways #HughHefner contributed to the good of, but let's also not forgot that he made his riches objectifying women.— Paul Baudhuin (@BelgianFriar) September 28, 2017
Hefner also touched many lives and made friends through his work at Playboy. A few of the Playboy bunnies and other women who spent time at his mansion shared his impact on their lives on Twitter.
Hugh Hefner put me in Playboy & ignited my career. I am forever indebted, Hef. You will forever live on as an icon of epic proportions. #RIP— Donna D'Errico (@DonnaDErrico) September 28, 2017
RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I’m so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 28, 2017
Other celebrities—spanning from Nancy Sinatra to Gene Simmons—also expressed their condolences throughout Wednesday night and this morning.
One of the nicest men I've ever known. Godspeed, Hugh Hefner. pic.twitter.com/457cchqskO— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/oL3lKLZRQ5— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 28, 2017
RIP HUGH HEFNER— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) September 28, 2017
I had a number of great conversations and with Hugh Hefner. Was such an interesting man. True legend. What an end of an era!— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) September 28, 2017
RIP Hugh Hefner I went to so many of his parties at the Playboy mansion it was legendary you will never be forgotten— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) September 28, 2017
Hefner will be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles next to Marilyn Monroe, according to the New York Times. Memorial services have not yet been announced.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.