Crystal Hefner is mourning the loss of her late husband, Hugh Hefner, who died last week at the age of 91.
"I haven't been able to bring myself to write most people back to thank them for their condolences," Crystal told People. "I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief. We laid him to rest Saturday. He is in the place he was always certain he wanted to spend eternity."
Crystal continued on, describing the Playboy founder as "an American hero" and "a pioneer."
"A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world," she eulogized. "I felt how much he loved me. I loved him so much. I am so grateful. He gave me life. He gave me direction. He taught me kindness. I will feel eternally grateful to have been by his side, holding his hand, and telling him how much I love him."
"He changed my life, he saved my life," she added. "He made me feel loved every single day. He was a beacon to the world, a force unlike anything else. There never has and never will be another Hugh M. Hefner. I join the world in mourning. I thank you for all of your condolences. To the people leaving sentiments at the front gate, we see you and grieve with you."
The 31-year-old model started dating Hugh in January 2009 following his relationship with his former "No. 1 girl," Holly Madison. They said "I do" in December 2012. Crystal was Hugh's third wife. He was previously married to Kimberley Conrad and Millie Williams.
As previously reported, the media mogul was laid to rest next to Marilyn Monroe in a private ceremony attended by his closest family and friends, including Crystal and his four children, Cooper, Christie, Marston and David.
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