SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at the age of 91.

Hefner, who began publishing Playboy magazine in 1953 and then dreamed up the idea of the Playboy mansion and Playboy bunnies, was an American icon.

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Playboy magazine announced Hefner’s death shortly after 8:00pm Wednesday.

Playboy Enterprises, Inc. released a statement Wednesday night stating that Hefner died of natural causes at his home, surrounded by loved ones.

His son, Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises’ Chief Creative Officer said in a statement following his father’s death, “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.”

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Playboy Enterprises says Playboy magazine was started at Hefner’s kitchen table and came about by Hefner “putting up his furniture as collateral for a loan and borrowing the rest from family and friends.”

BEL AIR, CA - JULY 15:  Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and six of his Playmates look on during Fight Night at the Playboy Mansion on July 15, 2003 in Bel Air, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and six of his Playmates (credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

While Playboy magazine is famous for its photographs of nude women, it is the magazine’s interviews with now-historical figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., that has earned it a place in journalistic history as well.

On Wednesday night, Playboy magazine’s website was changed to have only a photograph of Hefner along with a quote from him, stating, “Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.”

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