Hugh Hefner Dies At 91: The Weeknd, Ryan Seacrest, Paris Hilton And Others Mourn His Death

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away on Wednesday at his residence in Los Angeles. He was 91. The magazine announced on Twitter that the icon breathed his last surrounded by his loved ones at the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, California, on Wednesday.

Hefner no doubt was a symbol of sexual revolution and the most loved legend of 20th Century. The magazine, which was started in 1953, was known for featuring naked women on the cover page, but it was never considered sleazy or disrespectful by the magazine fans. Embodied by charm, the American icon was always outspoken about his life. "Life is too short to be living somebody else's dream," he said and followed it until his death. Born in 1926 as Hugh Marston Hefner, he aspired to become a cartoonist. He joined the Army as an infantry clerk after graduating from high school in 1944. It was then, he contributed cartoons for Army newspapers. He was honorably discharged in 1946. He later went on to graduate with the bachelor of arts in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 1949, thereby earning his degree in two and a half years. After graduation, he decided to take up a graduate course in sociology at Northwestern University but dropped out after semester. Later, he began working as a copywriter for Esquire, but left in January 1952 after being denied a $5 raise and started Playboy with a bank loan of $600. He and raised $8,000 from 45 investors, including $1,000 from his mother. The first issue of the magazine featuring nude Marylin Monroe sold over 53,000 copies. He featured Marilyn Monroe alongside in-depth interviews with other stars because he believed that the "sex symbol" Monroe would add the required oomph factor. Even though the first issue became an instant hit. It was in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish a short story "The Crooked Man" taken from the Charles Beaumont Science fiction. The story highlighted straight men being persecuted in a world where homosexuality was the norm. It garnered instant criticism as he received angry letters in response to the article. Hefner shot back to the criticism as he said, " If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society then the reverse was wrong, too". Hefner' s rebellious character also got him arrested for promoting obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of Jayne Mansfield was released. The case went to trial but resulted in a hung jury.   Besides leaving behind the legacy of Playboy, the rebel as he was called left behind decades of struggle for racial equality, women and gay rights along with his stand on changing drug laws, according to CBS News. Meanwhile, celebrities and fans mourned the death of the iconic legend on social media platforms. From Kim Kardashian West to The Weeknd, several celebrities took to Twitter to offer condolences to the legend. Check out the celebs reaction below.

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