In an image of the 91-year-old’s death certificate obtained by The Blast, it lists the exact causes of the magazine mogul’s death as cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, septicemia and e-coli.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health do not know how Hefner contracted the lethal bacteria.
He passed away surrounded by his family on Sept 27 at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills.
He was buried on Saturday in a ceremony attended only by family and as per his wishes, he was laid to rest in the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe at Los Angeles’ Westwood Village Park.
Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal and four children – Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years, David, Marston and Cooper.
Hefner was born in April 1926 in Chicago to strict religious parents. He was an intelligent child with an IQ supposedly around 152, but his teachers called him ‘unenthusiastic’.
In high school he began a student newspaper and took up various humanitarian causes. He graduated in 1944 where he joined the Army as an infantry clerk and continued writing and drawing cartoons in military newspapers. He was discharged in 1946 and came up with the idea for Playboy.
After the Army he did a course at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to the University of Illinois where he edited a campus magazine called Shaft.
There he created the ‘Coed of the Month’ section which would later shape his ideas forPlayboy.
‘Hef’ focused on the issues of personal freedom and wrote a lengthy paper about sex laws in America and despite struggling after college, Hefner managed to get a job at Esquire copy-writing and moved to their offices in New York.
He asked for a $5 raise but was turned down and so he left and then, in 1953, he managed to scrape together money, from family and friends. to start legendary Playboy.
Speaking about his father’s death, his son Cooper Hefner said in 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.
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley also spoke positively of the progress Hefner made in the early days of Playboy.
He’s a giant of American journalism. He really changed things in the 1950s and 60s, not just with having an open discussion about sexuality but bringing in Playboy magazine extraordinary, edgy interviews with people ranging from novelists Jack Kerouac to Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller…
It became almost a must-read in many ways. Some years ago, he invited me to visit him in the Playboy mansion, because as a historian he wanted me to see his archive. He had giant scrapbooks, he had saved everything his entire life.
He was particularly proud in his role in civil rights. He fought against Jim Crow in the South. He integrated the Playboy clubs in Miami and New Orleans.
Director Brett Ratner is currently developing a biopic on Hugh Hefner.