Hugh Hefner, a publishing icon and champion of free speech, died peacefully Wednesday at the Playboy Mansion while surrounded by loved ones. After famously being turned down for a raise while working as a copywriter for Esquire in the early 1950s, Hefner ditched that job and raised money to launch what would eventually become Playboy magazine. The publication quickly became an unparalleled outlet for the promotion of America's sexual revolution, as well as a home for some of the most essential long-reads in publishing history.
Wednesday night and early Thursday, tributes from those closely connected with the magazine's history, as well as those who supported its ideals from afar, started pouring in across social media and elsewhere. Some—including Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Jenny McCarthy—fondly recalled their memorable Playboy shoots. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among many others, touted Hefner for his support of the civil rights movement.
See a selection of Hefner tributes, also including parting words from Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra, below:
I would like to give my condolence to the Hugh Hefner family a true Pioneer for free speech and the adult entertainment nothing but class— LUTHER R CAMPBELL (@unclelukereal1) September 28, 2017
Hefner was 91 years old at the time of his death. Since first introducing the inaugural edition of Playboy back in 1953, Hefner spent six decades guiding the publication through the publishing industry's exponential format changes. Playboy Enterprises, the multimedia company that houses every facet of the Playboy brand, is now under the guidance of Hugh's son, Cooper Hefner, as its Chief Creative Officer.