Hugh Hefner and his then-girlfriend, 19-year-old actress Barbi Benton, surrounded by Bunny Girls at the Playboy Club in London in 1969. (AP)

The actress Kat Denning remembered meeting Hugh Hefner at his famed mansion, where he was “very nice to my mom.”

Kim Kardashian said she was “honored to be part of the Playboy team.”

Larry King called him a “GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights.”

Pamela Anderson, whose Playboy pictorials turned her into one of the most famous of all Playmates, posted a tearful farewell video after learning of Hefner’s death.

“I’m falling apart,” she wrote in a 299-word farewell in which she thanked Hefner for numerous things, including “making the world a better place. A freeer and sexier place.”

Goodbye #Hef Mr Hefner I have so many thoughts, I have no brain n right now to edit I am me because of you You taught me everything important about freedom and respect. Outside of my family You were the most important person in my life. You gave me my life… People tell me all the time That I was your favorite… I'm in such deep shock. But you were old, your back hurt you so much. Last time I saw you You were using a walker. You didn't want me to see. You couldn't hear. You had a piece of paper in your pocket you showed me – with my name Pamela with a heart around it. Now, I'm falling apart. This feeling is so crazy. It's raining in Paris now. I'm by the window. Everything anyone loves about me is because you understood me. Accepted me and encouraged me to be myself. Love like no one else. Live recklessly With unfiltered abandon. You said the magazine was about a girl like me. That I embody the spirit you fantasized about. I was the one. You said. I can hear you say – Be brave. There are no rules. Live your life I'm proud of you. There are no mistakes. And with men – Enjoy … (Your wonderful laugh) You have the world by the tail You are a good girl And you are so loved – You are not crazy. You are wild and free Stay strong, Stay vulnerable. … "It's movie time" You loved my boys … You were always, always there for us. With your love Your crazy wisdom. I will miss your everything. Thank you for making the world a better place. A freeer and sexier place. You were a gentleman charming, elegant, chivalrous And so much fun. Goodbye Hef … Your Pamela

A post shared by The Pamela Anderson Foundation (@pamelaanderson) on

A visionary editor who for decades threw lavish parties at his home, the Playboy Mansion, Hefner lived a glamorous Hollywood life, sharing time and photo ops with a diverse cast of celebrities, civil rights leaders and journalists.

The memories, condolences and even some jokes that people shared after Hefner’s death reflect the complicated legacy of the founder of Playboy magazine, who died at 91.

Actress Jenny McCarthy tweeted her 1994 Playboy cover and thanked Hefner for “changing so many people’s lives, esp. mine.”

Other former cover stars and Playmates, from Cindy Crawford to Donna D’Errico, offered tributes — and gratitude.

As The Washington Post’s Matt Schudel wrote: “From the first issue of Playboy in 1953, which featured a photograph of a nude Marilyn Monroe lounging on a red sheet, Mr. Hefner sought to overturn what he considered the puritanical moral code of Middle America.

“His magazine was shocking at the time, but it quickly found a large and receptive audience and was a principal force behind the sexual revolution of the 1960s.”

While the magazine helped launch some women’s entertainment careers, it also outraged feminists who found his magazine’s depictions of women degrading.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson noted that the magazine editor was a “strong supporter of the civil rights movement,” a part of Hefner’s legacy that others also wanted to highlight.

In 1961, Hefner bought back Playboy club franchises that refused to admit African American members.

“We are outspoken foes of segregation [and] we are actively involved in the fight to see the end of all racial inequalities in our time,” he wrote.

Actor Rob Lowe reminisced about their “great conversations.”

A post shared by Keith Richards (@officialkeef) on

As an editor, Hefner commissioned articles by celebrated writers, including Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin and Joyce Carol Oates.

As Schudel wrote for The Post: “Mr. Hefner brought nudity out from under the counter, but he was more than the emperor of a land with no clothes. From the beginning, he had literary aspirations for Playboy, hiring top writers to give his magazine cultural credibility. It became a running joke that the cognoscenti read Playboy ‘for the articles’ and demurely averted their eyes from the pages depicting bare-breasted women.”

Musician Belinda Carlisle remembered a “sweet kind man,” while Gene Simmons of KISS praised the “entrepreneur and innovator” who built a media empire from $600 of his own savings and investments from friends and family.

To Paris Hilton, Hefner was a “legend” and friend with whom she shared incredible memories.

Former SNL cast member Taran Killam looked back at a Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion with the “best haunted maze,” while actor Patton Oswalt poked some fun.

An aging Hef had become something of a self-caricature, strolling the grounds of the Playboy Mansion in silk pajamas, accompanied by a troupe of women who never seemed to turn 30.

Porn star Ron Jeremy chimed in with memories of more than two decades of parties.

Others drew attention to Hefner’s work in support of the First Amendment.

With the praise also came criticism.

Matt Schudel and J. Freedom du Lac contributed to this report, which has been updated.

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