Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday at 91 years old, left a massive mark on American culture, and his death triggered an outpouring of tributes on social media for the man who embodied the sexual revolution.
The magazine released a statement saying Hefner died at his home of natural causes surrounded by family.
Founding the magazine in 1953, Hefner built a brand that defined the sexual culture of the second half of the 20th century. Playboy's buxom models were the objects of millions of men's fantasies as Hefner challenged what he derided as America's "Puritanical" attitudes toward sex.
For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk pajama-wearing center of a constant fantasy party at Playboy mansions in Chicago and then in Los Angeles.
Jenny McCarthy, whose career was launched after scoring the coveted Playmate of the Year in 1993, thanked "Hef," as he was affectionately called by close friends and family, "for being a revolutionary and changing so many people’s lives, especially mine."
Hefner's former girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson, who was a Playboy model and star of E!'s "Girls Next Door," said the mogul "changed my life."
"He made me the person I am today," she told E! News. "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."
KISS singer Gene Simmons remembered Hefner as “a great man, entrepreneur and innovator. Your legacy lives on.”
Playboy magazine tweeted a photo of Hef, with one of his most famous quotes, "Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream."
Other stars honored Hefner while former Playmates shared messages of gratitude to the late publisher.
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