Playboy Enterprises Inc said in a statement that Hefner passed away peacefully from natural causes at his home, the iconic Playboy Mansion in Hollywood.
Hefner, who built Playboy into a multimillion-dollar empire, is credited with revolutionizing adult entertainment.
His hedonistic lifestyle and outlook turned him into a cultural icon.
Playboy's legendary founder Hugh Hefner
Hefner's son Cooper pays tribute
Hefner's son Cooper Hefner said he would be "greatly missed by many." He paid tribute to his father, saying he "lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer." He called Hefner an advocate for free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.
Hefner turned Playboy into a cultural fixture
Hefner had started publishing Playboy from his home in 1953, turning it into largest-selling men's magazines in the world.
Playboy's 'bunny logo' has become a recognizable cultural fixture the world over.
At its peak, the magazine sold seven million copies a month.
Love World news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.
Hefner's lifestyle was the dream of boys and men
The silk pyjama-clad Hefner, popularly referred to as 'Hef', lived the lifestyle portrayed by his magazine.
He dated and married Playboy models and claimed he had slept with over 1,000 women.
He threw lavish soirees at his luxurious mansions filled with celebrities and scantily-clad models.
Hefner was often attacked by feminists but "styled himself as the godfather of the sexual revolution," the BBC reported.
Indian troops battle Naga insurgents along Indo-Myanmar border
Indian trafficking victim comes back home from Saudi Arabia