Bob Guccione, founder of American top-shelf magazine Penthouse, died on Wednesday in Texas at the age of 79, The Associated Press reports.
He had battled lung cancer for several years, his wife, April Dawn Warren Guccione, said.
Guccione started Penthouse in 1965 in England to support his career as an artist, and later introduced the magazine to the US during the peak of the feminist movement and the sexual revolution in 1969.
The magazine rose in popularity, challenging Hugh Hefner's rather upscale Playboy title, by aiming at more "regular" readers and offering a mix of tabloid journalism and provocative photography.
Guccione's self-professed "philosophy of voyeurism" distinguished the magazine's images.
Named one of the 400 wealthiest people in the US by Forbes in 1982, Guccione, who had gone on to launch additional magazine businesses, saw his print empire succumb to pressures of bad investments, legal hassles and the rise of video and the internet through the 1990s.
Following a bankruptcy sale by Guccione's General Media, Penthouse was bought by a private equity firm in 2004.