LOS ANGELES- Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91, the magazine said on its official Twitter account.
Playboy sent out the following statement:
"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."
Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with $600 of his own money and built the magazine into a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire that at its 1970s peak included TV shows, a jazz festival and a string of Playboy Clubs whose cocktail waitresses wore bunny ears and cottontails.
Over the years, he married a few of his magazine's "Playmates" and was on reality TV shows with girlfriends less than a third his age.
People immediately began reacting to his death on Twitter: