In a statement released to the media by Playboy Enterprises, the iconic founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, is dead at the age of 91. The reports state he passed away from "natural causes" at home.
The following tribute was put on twitter:
His son, Cooper Hefner (Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises), conveyed in the published 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."
As the story unfolds, so will details surrounding the events of his death. We often hear on the news or even in daily conversation that an older person died of "natural causes" sometimes in his or her sleep. This concept is routinely conflated with the notion a death was by “old age” or “debility” as was once the name centuries ago. During those eras or when a cause of death does (or doesn’t) remain elusive, these terms routinely abound in the elderly. But, they are imprecise.
These concepts in the geriatric set, in particular, often perpetuate a false perception. “Old Age” (and the like) is not the direct trigger for death. The aging process itself along with an individual’s underlying medical conditions in parallel with the consequences of a life well-lived act in unison to precipitate a cascade of events. Slow-going in decline for some. Stabilizing or more rapid for others. To appreciate the physiologic changes with aging and the issues with resilience when facing an acute event or chronic disease, review this link.
It is unlikely this semantic catch-all will leave the culture, and that's ok. Just appreciate the nuance.
For the family and those inspired by such an influential figure as Hugh Hefner, the life in his years as well as the legacy he left behind matters the most. As a number of my male colleagues have already weighed in, this is a hard loss to face given he erected such a successful empire on a foundation of testosterone. The word icon does not seem to serve sufficiently enough to frame his reverberating impact on the world. No doubt this marks the end of an era.
Note: Would love to hear your thoughts-- in the comments section below--regarding the extent of his influence particularly in the realm of sexual health and health in general.