Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91

(WIBW) - The founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, died Wednesday at the age of 91.

The magazine announced the news, calling Hefner an "American legend."

In a statement, Playboy Enterprises said Hefner died of natural causes at his home.

According to a biography on his foundation's web site, Hefner was born in Chicago to conservative Protestant parents. After high school, he joined the Army where he served as an infantry clerk and drew cartoons for various Army newspapers.

Hefner worked as a copywriter at Esquire magazine then as the newsstand promotion director of Publisher Development Corporation, where he became convinced there was a market for a sophisticated men's magazine.

According to the bio, the first issue of Playboy magazine was produced on the kitchen table of his South Side apartment. It hit newsstands in December 1953, featuring the now-famous calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe. The bio states the issue carried no cover date because "Hefner was not sure when or if he would be able to produce another."

The first issue sold more than 50,000 copies. After that, the bio states Hefner "never doubted that the magazine would be a success."