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Hugh Hefner, the founder and the epitome of the Playboy brand, dies at 91

Hugh Heffner's lengthy career in magazine covers

Media mogul and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has passed away at the age of 91 in his home.

The founder of the iconic men’s magazine died on Wednesday night (27 September). He leaves behind his wife Crystal, who was sixty years his junior, and his four children, Christie, Marston, David and Cooper, who holds a lead role at Playboy as chief creative officer.

Hugh passes the torch to son Cooper, who last year made the decision to ditch (and return to) nude models in an attempt to modernise. Cooper paid tribute to his father, claiming that he lead an "exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer,” who would be “greatly missed by many".

He touched upon his father’s work campaigning for free speech and his civil rights advocacy. "He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history."

At its peak in the late 90s the magazine shifted a record of 7m copies a month, a figure vastly beyond its print capabilities now but a great advanced upon Hefner running the operation from his kitchen.

The Drum sat down for a chat with Cooper in 2016, to understand the course he was charting for the publication during a period of repositioning, where there are numerous high quality competitors and porn is freely available on the internet.

It is unlikely any other magazine owner epitomised the brand as much as Hugh Hefner although Rolling Stone owner Jann S Wenner comes close. He recently put his iconic magazine up for sale arguing that it needs younger hands on board to turnaround a deficit.

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