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Los Angeles, CA - OCTOBER 25: Hugh Hefner and Crystal Hefner attend Playboy Mansion's Annual Halloween Bash at The Playboy Mansion on October 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy)

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91.

Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, Wednesday night at age 91.

In 1953, Hefner scraped together $8,000 from family and friends, including $1,000 from his mother, and in December of that year, he published the first issue of Playboy, producing the magazine at the kitchen table of his apartment. That first issue featured a nude pinup shot of Marilyn Monroe, and the rest was history.

As Playboy flourished in the ’60s and ’70s, Hefner steadily expanded his brand. Wearing a tux and brandishing a pipe, he hosted TV shows — “Playboy’s Penthouse” and “Playboy After Dark” — that featured him chatting up entertainers in a swinging, bachelor-party setting.

It was that first issue of Playboy with Marilyn Monroe that launched Hugh Hefner as a social and sexual revolutionary. And after all the bunnies, all the playmates, all the girlfriends, one named Brandy, and the twins named Sandy and Mandy, Hefner wanted to be near Monroe for eternity. He bought the crypt next to Monroe’s at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in California, which he planned to be his final resting place.

Reflecting on his own life, Hefner once said “the interesting thing is how one guy, through living out his own fantasies, is living out the fantasies of so many other people.”

It is with great sadness as everyone morns the life and legacy of the legend himself. RIP Hugh Hefner!