At the moment, official specifics on Hugh Hefner's cause of death have yet to come to light. But new reports have shed light on the medical issues that could have affected the Playboy founder's health in his final years.
Citing sources close to Hefner, TMZ wrote on Friday that the publishing icon was already suffering from back issues when he was in his late 80s. These issues were aggravated when he got an infection, and as TMZ noted, the infection made it hard for Hefner to walk without assistance and eventually kept him bedridden. This led to a drastic reduction in his public appearances, though he was notably photographed in May of 2016 to announce Eugena Washington as Playmate of the Year.
Although Hefner's age and health forced him to ease up on the public appearances, he still appeared on a number of photos taken by family members and shared on their respective social media accounts. According to Heavy, Hefner's last photos prior to his death included images of him playing backgammon with family members, including his two children with first wife Mildred Williams and his two sons with second wife Kimberley Conrad. Although some of the photos show Hefner looking frail in his older age, his youngest son, Cooper, told the Hollywood Reporter in August that his father's struggles were "physical and not mental" in nature.
That same interview had Cooper Hefner admitting that he was having a hard time watching his father struggle, but the elder Hefner's death on Wednesday still caught a lot of longtime fans and followers by surprise. TMZ's new report, however, might explain why Hefner passed away so unexpectedly.
According to the publication, Hugh Hefner's cause of death might have been related to a "bug" he caught "a couple of weeks ago." As Hefner was in a weakened state at that time, it was speculated that the "mild illness" he caught was still too much for his immune system to deal with.At the time of his death, Hefner was surrounded by his loved ones, including three of his four children — daughter Christie and sons Marston and Cooper. Second wife Kimberley Conrad, whom Hefner was married to from 1989 to 2010, was also by his side. According to the Daily Mail, it's still unsure whether Hefner's third wife, Crystal Harris, was present when he died. Harris, who set her social media accounts to private following her husband's death, has yet to issue a public statement.
The above reports might offer some insights into Hugh Hefner's cause of death, but as Radar Online reported on Thursday, no autopsy will be conducted, as Hefner's body was sent straight to the mortuary, instead of going through the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. No funeral details have been announced as of this writing.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]