Days after Hugh Hefner died, his widow, Crystal, has opened up about the Playboy founder.
“I haven’t been able to bring myself to write most people back to thank them for their condolences,” the 31-year-old model said in a statement to E! News.
“I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief.”
Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at 91 of natural causes at home and surrounded by family.
The magazine publisher was married three times: first to Mildred Williams in 1949, then to 27-year-old Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad in 1989 and finally to Crystal, then 24, in 2012.
“He was an American hero. A pioneer. A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world. I felt how much he loved me. I loved him so much. I am so grateful. He gave me life. He gave me direction. He taught me kindness. I will feel eternally grateful to have been by his side, holding his hand, and telling him how much I love him,” Crystal Hefner told E! News.
The Life and Times of Hugh Hefner
“He changed my life, he saved my life. He made me feel loved every single day. He was a beacon to the world, a force unlike anything else. There never has and never will be another Hugh M. Hefner.”
Hefner was buried Saturday at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, in a plot next to Marilyn Monroe’s that he purchased in 1992 for $ 75,000.
He’s survived by four children, Christie, David, Marston and Cooper.
“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 Hefner said in a statement.
“He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”