Bob Guccione

Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse magazine, died on Wednesday at the age of 79.  A statement issued by the Guccione family said that he died at Plano Specialty Hospital after a long battle with cancer.

When Guccione first created Penthouse, his goal was to create a more explicit alternative to the already-popular, mainstream magazine Playboy, which was founded by Hugh Hefner.

Guccione was born in New York and worked as an artist before he launched Penthouse magazine in London in 1965.  The first U.S. issue came out in 1969.

Guccione acted as editor-in-chief of the popular skin mag during his tenure as owner, which came to an end in 2004. He cited the rise in popularity of internet porn for reductions in magazine sales that led him to move on to other ventures.

According to industry estimates, Penthouse reeled in $4 billion during his tenure as publisher.