Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at his home, The Playboy Mansion, at the age of 91, Playboy announced.
Hefner passed away from natural causes, Playboy said.
Hefner founded Playboy Magazine in 1953, launching its first issue in December of that year. The magazine features nude and semi-nude photos and profiles of models known as "Playmates." Famous singers and movie stars, including Marilyn Monroe and Kim Basinger, have been featured in the magazine.
Aside from features on models, Playboy highlighted profiles of famous artists, writers and public figures. The magazine contained short stories from a number of notable novelists.
In the 1970s, Hefner moved into the infamous "Playboy Mansion," and hosted a number of the magazine's functions at the mansion.
"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. 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," said Cooper Hefner, Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.
Hefner was born and raised in Chicago before going into the Army. After fulfilling his military commitment, he worked in the publishing industry. Wanting to start a men's magazine, he put his furniture up as collateral and was issued a loan to start Playboy.
The magazine now drives more than $1 billion of revenue annually.
Hefner also fought the government in court several times. He challenged the US Postal Service for refusing to Playboy delivered. Playboy also went to the Supreme Court to have its TV network available on cable in the 1990s.
Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, and four grown children.