Crystal Hefner finally broke her silence Monday following the death of Playboy creator Hugh Hefner last Wednesday at the age of 91, calling him an “American hero.”
“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,” the 31-year-old widow told People magazine Monday.(RELATED: Hugh Hefner’s ‘Girls Next Door’ React To His Passing)
“We laid him to rest Saturday,” she added. “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,” she 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. 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.”
“I join the world in mourning. I thank you for all of your condolences,” Crystal shared. “To the people leaving sentiments at the front gate, we see you and grieve with you.”
She made her debut in the gentlemen’s magazine when she was 24 years old as the December 2009 Playmate of the Month. In 2010, Hefner announced that he had asked Crystal to marry him and the two wed New Year’s eve 2012.