Elayne Lodge/Playboy Enterprises
Following the news that the Playboy founder had passed away Wednesday at 91-years-old, Hefner’s former girlfriend and longtime confidante released a somber statement mourning her loss.
“Hef changed my life,” she told E! News. “He made me the person I am today. I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together. I will miss him so much but he will be in my heart forever.”
Wilkinson-Baskett rose to fame as a Playboy model and star of the E! reality show The Girls Next Door with Playboy Mansion roommates and Hefner’s fellow girlfriends Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. The show ended its six-season run in 2009, and despite the passage of time, Kendra always remained close to the publishing mogul.
Earlier this year, we spoke to Kendra during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival about the last time she’d seen Hugh, which was only a few months earlier. She noted he looked “very healthy.”
In a previous conversation, Wilkinson-Baskett described, “We had a great talk and we were very happy to see each other. You know and there were rumors that things are happening, but God, he’s 91-years-old! He’s gonna live longer than us!”
The reality star did share, “I worry every day you know he’s at that age and I’m not gonna lie every day I open up my social media I pray that I don’t see what we think might happen. He honestly is my family.”
“The day that comes will be devastating to me and my family,” Kendra added.
In a statement announcing the legendary celebrity’s death, Playboy said, “Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.”
Our thoughts go out to Kendra as well as Hefner’s loved ones at this time.