Chicago Remembers Hugh Hefner With Emotional Tribute

In the hours after Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner passed away, Chicagoans traveled to the city's former Playboy mansion to remember the man who helped start the sexual revolution. 

A memorial sprouted outside the iconic building now filled with condos as fans lit candles and left cigarettes and booze in Hefner's honor. 

Hefner died at age 91, Playboy Enterprises announced late Wednesday.

The company said Hefner peacefully passed away on Wednesday from natural causes at his home, the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.

Born on April 9, 1926, in Chicago Hefner was widely recognized with helping usher in the sexual revolution with the creation of Playboy magazine.

Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of arts in psychology and a double minor in creative writing. 

According to, he raised $8,000 from 45 investors—including $2,000 from his mother and brother combined—to launch Playboy magazine. It turned out to be a smart gamble. Hefner transformed the adult entertainment industry beginning with the very first issue, which featured Marilyn Monroe.

He started his first edition from his Chicago apartment room in 1953, only dreaming it would become as big as it did. 

Over the years the magazine expanded into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, but that didn't come without controversy. In 1963, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature after an issue of the magazine featured nude pictures of actress Jayne Mansfield. He stood trial but the jury failed to reach a verdict, and the charge was dropped.

Over the years scores of celebrities graced the magazine's covers, including Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Pamela Anderson, Farrah Fawcett, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Kim Kardashian and Kim Basinger.

Hefner's Chicago days were full of lavish parties at the Playboy mansion filled with celebrities and scantily clad women dressed as bunnies. And then there was the Playboy club. 

"I used to go in there and have lunch and the girls would be in the swimming pool and I mean it was amazing," Hefner's mailman of more than 30 years Al Peason said. "They'd let me come in and play with the pinball machines and I was just so infatuated with it." 

In October 2015, Playboy underwent a radical change deciding, as part of a redesign to stop using photos of fully nude women. The March 2016 issue featured bikini-clad model on the cover, marking the first time Playboy has presented itself as a non-nude magazine.

Hefner was thrice-married. Most recently he wed in 2012 at age 86 to Playboy playmate Crystal Harris, 60 years his junior. In August it was reported the iconic Playboy Mansion, notorious for its wild parties and infamous grotto, sold for a reported $105 million.

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