Founded of Hustler magazine and self-proclaimed "smut peddler who cares", Larry Flynt, died at age 78.
During a career spanning five decades, Flynt frequently courted controversy and was subject to several lawsuits. Back in 1978, Flynt stood trial in Georgia for obscenity. During the trial, Flynt was subject to an assassination attempt while standing outside the courthouse. He pulled through the incident, but the attempt on his life left him a paraplegic. The alleged perpetrator was never charged. At least he did not have to stand trial anymore (pun intended).
Flynt did know how to roll in style – literally. Forget the fancy electronic wheelchair. Nope, Flynt took it a step further (no pun intended) and had his wheelchair gold-plated and lined with velvet.
Flynt, who married five times, was born in Kentucky in 1942. He soon dropped out of school to begin a career in the adult industry, launching strip clubs with his brother in Ohio.
A newsletter promoting the clubs soon evolved into Hustler magazine, which was first published back in 1974. It became so popular that, at the height of its circulation, the magazine was selling three million copies a month.
In 1996, the film The People vs Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson, portrayed his pioneering legal battles for freedom of speech.
Flynt was sued by Jerry Falwell, for a sexual parody cartoon of the televangelist. The cartoon appeared in Hustler in 1983 as a fake advert, showing Falwell saying his first sexual encounter had been with his mother in an outhouse.
Falwell sued Flynt for $50 million for libel. He won the case in a lower court, but the case went up to the US Supreme Court, where Flynt then won with a unanimous 8-0 verdict. This reinforced free speech rights and protections for satire in the US.
Flynt's business empire extended into other areas of entertainment. It was reported that the companies had a turnover of $150 million at one point.
Besides pornography, he also took aim at the political office, with little chance of making a breakthrough.
Minda Gowen, the spokeswoman for Larry Flynt Publications, confirmed his death on Wednesday, saying that Flynt passed away due to the "recent onset of a sudden illness".
It was reported by Flynt's brother that cause of death was heart failure. Flynt passed away in his sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with his family by his side.