So sad. Kendra Wilkinson has broken her silence following news that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at age 91. The blonde beauty, 32 — who starred on Hef’s hit E! reality series, Girls Next Door, from 2005 to 2009 — shared her condolences for the pop culture icon in a statement to the Associated Press.
“Hef changed my life,” the former Playboy model said. “He made me the person I am today. I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together. I will miss him so much but he will be in my heart forever.”
Kendra Wilkinson, Hugh Hefner, and Bridget Marquardt in 2007. (Photo Credit: Splash)
Back in April, Kendra took to Instagram to wish Hef a happy 91st birthday, and let him know just how much he meant to her. “Happy birthday Hef!!” she wrote at the time. “Thank you for EVERYTHING. People might not understand you but that’s because they’ve never had the chance to know you like I do. I’ll celebrate you forever!!!”
Kendra’s former Girls Next Door co-star and fellow Playboy centerfold Bridget Marquardt also paid tribute to Hef in a touching Instagram message. “So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences,” she captioned a pic of the two from one of the Playboy Mansion’s infamous Midsummer’s Night Dream parties. “#RIPHef #Playboy.” To see how Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Heidi Montag, and more stars reacted to the magazine publisher’s passing, check out the video below.
As previously reported, Playboy’s official Twitter account confirmed the sad news of Hef’s death in a statement Wednesday night. Not long after, his 26-year-old son, Cooper, who works as Playboy Enterprise’s Chief Creative Officer, reflected on his father’s legacy in an emotional 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,” Cooper said. “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.”
Hef founded Playboy in Chicago in 1953. He is also survived by his wife, Crystal Harris, sons Marston, 27, and David, 62, and daughter Christie, 64. Our thoughts go out to them at this time.