Hugh Hefner saved Kendra Wilkinson’s life, mother says

SAN DIEGO - The day after the passing of Playboy icon Hugh Hefner, the mother of former Playboy bunny and reality star Kendra Wilkinson talked about what he meant to her daughter and a visit he once made to San Diego.

Kendra's mother Patti Wilkinson told FOX 5 as soon as she heard the news of Hefner's death she called her daughter who was already on her way the mansion, devastated over the loss, but knew this day was coming.

Hefner, 91, died Wednesday at the iconic Playboy mansion in Los Angeles. He was surrounded by loved ones, according to Playboy Enterprise.

“My heart just stopped,” Patti Wilkinson said.  "I called Kendra right away. She was in LA and she was on her way to the mansion where a bunch of people were going to get together and play tribute to Hef.”

Kendra was made famous on the E! reality series “Girls Next Door.” She was in LA for a short trip from her current show "Kendra On Top," according to her mother. The reality star gives credit to Hefner for changing her life.

Hefner took her daughter into the Playboy mansion at just 18 years old, it was something Patti was against at first, but later gave her blessing.

“Hef and Kendra had a very special relationship. I think from day one he adored her. He took her under his wing. He guided her. I honestly attribute him to saving her life,” said Patti, who mentioned her daughter had not been in a good place before meeting him.  Patti did not elaborate on the details.

The mother to the reality star shared a lot of memories with Kendra and Hefner during her time at the mansion, but there’s one that stands out above all others.

“He came to San Diego for lunch. I got him Kentucky Fried Chicken, tried to pawn it off like I made it," Patti said. "He came to my house and actually sat on my couch. He looked at my pictures, went all through my house. I was a nervous wreck, but he said it was a very special day for him. We showed him home movies (of Kendra). He's just like a normal person, but here's this icon in my house in Clairemont."

Kendra who tweeted a picture of her and Hef on her wedding day posted:

“Can't really put in to words how I really feel. It's easy to say he will be missed and how much I loved him. There's a lot more than that.”

Wilkinson said even after Kendra left the mansion she’s continued to keep in touch with Hef who she considered a family member.

“She was visibly upset very sad. She seen him about a year ago and in her heart she knew then it was probably going to be the last time she had seen him alive,” Patti said. “We all knew this day was going come, but it still doesn’t prepare you for the actual event.”

Patti Wilkinson says she will be attending Hugh Hefners’ service with her daughter when that date is set.