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Jenny McCarthy, Gene Simmons Lead Celebrity Tributes to Hugh Hefner

People logo People 28/09/2017 Karen Mizoguchi

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[via E! Online]

The world is reeling after news of Hugh Hefner‘s death.

Celebrities and former Playboy cover models expressed their condolences and shared moving tributes to Hefner on social media.

“RIP #Hef Thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people’s lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud,” Jenny McCarthy tweeted along with a photo of her January 2005 Playboy cover.

“A great man, entrepreneur and innovator. Your legacy lives on. #Hef,” wrote Gene Simmons.

“RIP @hughhefner thank you for making me part of the Playboy family. Sending lots of love and prayers to @crystalhefner,” said Heidi Montag.

“Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace,” said Jesse Jackson.

“RIP @hughhefner thank you for making me part of the Playboy family. Sending lots of love and prayers to @crystalhefner,” said Heidi Montag.

A rep for the Playboy Enterprises founder confirmed the tragic news in a statement to PEOPLE: “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.”

Hefner’s son Cooper, who is also the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, also released a statement.

“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. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history. He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises,” said Cooper.

RIP my friend. You changed the world.

A post shared by ShannonLeeTweedSimmons (@shannonleetweedsimmons) on

Hefner quickly rose to fame after the first issue of men’s magazine Playboy published in December 1953, which featured a nude Marilyn Monroe. The same year, Hefner launched media and lifestyle company Playboy Enterprises, Inc., on which he served as a board member until the time of his death.

In an August 2017 interview, Hefner’s son Cooper, who took over as chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, admitted that it was hard to watch his father get older.

“It’s tough to watch him struggle,” he told The Hollywood Reporter of his father getting older. “But I’m just happy it’s physical and not mental.

He is survived by his wife Crystal Harris and four children.

Related Gallery: Hugh Hefner: Life in pictures [via GES] Hugh Hefner: Life in pictures

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