Adult entertainment pioneer Larry Flynt has died at the age of 78.
According to NBC News, the founder of Hustler died in Los Angeles on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 10. Flynt's rep told NBC Newsthe 78-year-old died "from the recent onset of a sudden illness," adding, "He passed quietly in his sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his wife Liz and daughter Theresa by his side."
Flynt became a well-known figure in the adult entertainment world when he launched Hustler magazine in the '70s. At the time, he owned and operated topless bars across the midwest, which shared the same name as the publication.
He later became a fierce advocate of the first amendment, defending his right to publish parodies and other sensitive subject matter that some considered offensive.
During one 1978 trial in which he was facing a charge of distributing obscene materials, Flynt and his lawyer were shot by an unidentified gunman. Flynt was left partially paralyzed by the attack.
Serial killer and self-proclaimed white supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin later claimed he was responsible for the shooting. At the time, Franklin said he carried out the act after seeing an interracial photoshoot published in Hustler.
Flynt's assassination attempt and legal battles were highlighted in the 1996 biopic The People vs. Larry Flynt. Woody Harrelson, who portrayed the late magazine publisher, earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
The assassination again became a subject of national interest when Franklin was up for execution.
When Franklin was up for execution in 2013, Flynt wrote in a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Flynt wrote that he believed he was the gunman, but said, "I do not want to kill him, nor do I want to see him die."
A month later, Franklin was executed following his conviction of multiple murders.
TMZ was the first to report Flynt's death.