Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt has passed away

Los Angeles, California - Larry Flynt, the founder of the porn magazine Hustler, has passed away at the age of 78.

Larry Flynt at the 2011 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada (archive image).
Larry Flynt at the 2011 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada (archive image).  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Courtrooms and open hatred marked the life of controversial publisher, who died in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post and NBC. His wife Elizabeth Barrios and daughter Theresa Flynt were by his side.

The cause of death remains unclear. Flynt was a controversial figure throughout his life: he and his magazines were repeatedly accused of publishing obscenities.

Raised in poverty in rural Kentucky and Indiana, Flynt joined the military as a teenager before founding his first Hustler strip club at the age of 22. He beefed up a small advertising pamphlet with news about his growing business to create the first Hustler issue in 1974.

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Hustler set itself apart from glossy men's magazines like Playboy and Penthouse by publishing more explicit content, grabbing newspaper headlines time and again.

In 1975, for example, Flynt published nude photos of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis taken by paparazzi.

In 1978, Flynt was shot in an ambush

Flynt was a symbol of the fight against censorship and for freedom of expression. He appeared in court countless times and even spent a brief stint in prison. In 1977, he was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for distributing pornography, but an appeals court overturned the decision.

After a court appearance in the state of Georgia, Flynt was shot in an ambush in March 1978. He was paralyzed from the waist down as a result. On special occasions, Flynt drove up in a gold-plated wheelchair.

The shooter was a fanatic who later admitted to the deed after being put in prison for other crimes.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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