Adult entertainment magnate Larry Flynt has died at age 78.
Flynt’s family members confirmed the news to TMZ on Wednesday afternoon, hours after he reportedly succumbed to heart failure in his Los Angeles home.
Flynt was best known as the founder and publisher of Hustler magazine, which he founded in 1974. Though the publication made him one of the most powerful figures in the porn industry, it also led to years of legal battles; the most prominent of which was waged by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who sued Flynt and Hustler in the 1980s over a parody ad that used his name and likeness. The Supreme Court case was featured in the 1996 drama The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson and Ed Norton.
In 1978, serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin attempted to murder Flynt in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where the publisher was fighting an obscenity case. The shooting left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down, and he would spend the rest of his life using a wheelchair. Franklin was hit with eight unrelated murder charges and executed by lethal injection in 2013.
Flynt would go on to expand his empire by launching additional outlets, nightclubs, and sex toy businesses. He also opened a casino in the Los Angeles area and tried his hand at politics. He announced his presidential bid in 1983 and ran for California governor in 2003.
“I really think I can do a better job of balancing the budget than those pinhead bureaucrats in Sacramento,” he told reporters after announcing his candidacy for governor. “I may be paralyzed from the waist down, but unlike Governor Gray (Davis), I’m not paralyzed from the neck up.”
Flynt is survived by wife, Elizabeth Berrios, five daughters and a son.