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Hugh Hefner's widow Crystal breaks silence following his death

The couple married on New Year's Eve in 2012

Ainhoa Barcelona

Hugh Hefner's grieving widow Crystal has said she is "heartbroken" following the death of her husband. Speaking almost a week after the Playboy magazine founder passed away aged 91, Crystal said in a statement to People: "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. We laid him to rest Saturday. He is in the place he was always certain he wanted to spend eternity."

Praising her husband who was 60 years her senior, Crystal, 31, added: "He was an American hero. A pioneer. A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world. 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.

hugh-hefner-and-wife-crystal-at-playboy-mansion-for-halloweenVIEW GALLERY

"I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief," said Crystal

"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." She concluded: "I join the world in mourning. I thank you for all of your condolences. To the people leaving sentiments at the front gate, we see you and grieve with you."

Crystal was Hugh's third wife. The pair started dating in January 2009 and became engaged on Christmas Eve in December 2010. Crystal, a Playboy model, broke off their engagement in June 2011, just five days before their wedding. The couple then reconciled and were married on New Year's Eve in 2012 at Hugh's home.

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The couple married in 2012

Hugh was also previously married to his college sweetheart Millie Williams from 1949 to 1959, followed by Playboy model Kimberley Conrad from 1989 to 2010. He passed away on 27 September and was laid to rest in a private funeral three days later. Hugh was reportedly dressed in his iconic red silk pyjamas, jacket and captain's hat and was buried in a plot next to Marilyn Monroe at the Westwood Village Memorial Park. Hugh had purchased the plot back in 1992.

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