Larry Flynt, founder of ‘Hustler,’ dead at 78

American publisher Larry Flynt, who turned “Hustler” magazine into a pornography empire, died at the age of 78 Wednesday, TMZ reports.

Sources told TMZ that Flynt died of heart failure Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

Flynt, a self described free speech activist, was involved in several high-profile legal cases over his publications. His story inspired the 1996 film “The People vs. Larry Flynt” in which he was portrayed by Woody Harrelson.

During an obscenity trial in March of 1978, a gunman named Joseph Paul Franklin shot Flynt as he returned to the Gwinnett County Courthouse, leaving him partially paralyzed. In later years, Flynt was photographed using a gold-plated wheelchair.

Flynt is survived by wife Elizabeth Berrios as well as his five daughters and son, TMZ reports.

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