[Photo by: Playboy]

Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy empire, has died in his home, the Playboy Mansion, at the age of 91. The news was confirmed by Playboy Enterprises on the evening of Sept. 28.

“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, surrounded by loved ones. He was 91 years old,” Playboy Enterprises reported.

Playboy magazine made its debut in December 1953, when Hefner published its first issue, which grew into the Playboy empire. From Playboy’s Penthouse and The Girls Next Door to making an appearance in Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” music video, Hefner has been a mainstay in the world of popular culture.

Throughout his time with Playboy, Hefner took a progressive approach not only to sexuality, but also in regards to politics and culture. He published interviews with the likes of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and fought against Jim Crow laws in the South by integrating Playboy Clubs in Miami and New Orleans.

However, there has been controversy surrounding his life in the Playboy Mansion, with Holly Madison discussing the depression and verbal abuse in her book, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny.

Since Hefner's passing, musicians have responded to the Playboy founder's death: 

Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, and four children, Christie, David, Marston and Cooper.

Our thoughts are with Hefner’s family at this time.