Heartbreaking details emerge on late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's 'debilitating' final days

Gibson Johns, AOL.com

More details are emerging about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's health in the days following his death at 91.

The iconic publisher had made very few public appearances in his final years, with one of his last major outings coming back in May 2016 to announce Eugena Washington as the Playmate of the Year. In a new report from TMZ, the health-driven reasons behind his reclusiveness have come to light.

SEE ALSO: Hugh Hefner's wife may not get much money due to an 'ironclad' prenup

According to sources close to Hefner, he had experienced back problems starting a handful of years ago in his late 80s, but his condition worsened last year when he got an infection of sorts. TMZ reports that the infection made Hefner's back problems "debilitating" and "he could barely walk without assistance and was bedridden soon after" he got the infection.

Look back at some of Hugh Hefner's most iconic moments:

Though the official announcement of Hefner's passing on Wednesday night attributed his death to natural causes, sources close to the Playboy icon say that he caught a "mild illness" a couple of weeks ago, which was too much for his immune system.

"Family and friends knew it would probably be too much for him," the source said of the bug.

14-time Playboy cover model Pamela Anderson alluded to Hefner's back problems and generally worsening health in her tribute on Instagram after news of his death had been made public.

"But you were old, your back hurt you so much," she wrote on Instagram. "Last time I saw you you were using a walker. You didn't want me to see. You couldn't hear."

In his final moments, Hefner's sons Marston and Cooper, daughter Christie and second wife Kimberley Conrad were with him.

See how stars reacted to Hugh Hefner's death:

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