Hugh Hefner’s widow Crystal has broken her silence on her husband’s death, calling the Playboy founder an “American hero.”
In a statement to People, Hefner (nee Harris), who married the publishing giant in 2012, after famously canceling their nuptials at the 11th hour the year before, said that she was “heartbroken” by the loss.
“I haven’t been able to bring myself to write most people back to thank them for their condolences. I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief,” Hefner told People. “We laid him to rest Saturday. He is in the place he was always certain he wanted to spend eternity.”
“He was an American hero. A pioneer. A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world,” Hefner continued. “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. He changed my life, he saved my life.”
Hefner concluded, “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.”
Hugh Hefner died Sept. 27 at the Playboy Mansion of natural causes. He was 91.
Hefner’s son Cooper sent out a statement following his passing saying, “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.”