Larry Flynt, 'Hustler' Founder, Dead at 78

Larry Flynt
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The magazine founder and pornography mogul died Wednesday morning.

Larry Flynt, the controversial founder of Hustler magazine, has died. He was 78.

The adult media mogul died Wednesday morning from heart failure, according to multiple reports.

Flynt became a divisive figure in America when he debuted his now-famous adult magazine, Hustler, in 1974. The magazine was immediately controversial for its unprecedented level of nudity, and Flynt became an inadvertent champion and advocate of free speech as he fought for the right to publish his magazine.

In 1978, amid his many First Amendment court battles, as his publishing and pornography empire grew, Flynt was shot by a white supremacist serial killer, who went uncaught for many years.

The shooting left Flynt with permanent spinal damage and he was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.

Flynt's legal battles, his controversial rise to fame and his eventual shooting were chronicled in the Oscar-nominated 1996 biographical drama The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which the publisher was portrayed by Woody Harrelson. 

Larry Flynt Publications has since grown, and includes Hustler, as well as several other publications, multiple pornographic TV channels and websites. Flynt also opened the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California, in 2000.

Flynt is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Berrios, as well as four daughters and a son.