Penthouse founder Bob GuccioneBob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse magazine, died Wednesday at the age of 79.

Guccione died at Plano Specialty Hospital after a long battle with cancer, the Associated Press said.

Guccione, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., shook up the world of publishing when he introduced Penthouse in 1969. The magazine described itself as "the magazine of sex, politics and protest" and offered a mix of tabloid journalism and sexually explicit photography.

The racy magazine earned an estimated $4 billion with Guccione at the helm. Guccione also built a book publishing and merchandising empire under the General Media umbrella.

In 2003, General Media filed for bankruptcy. A private-equity investor purchased Penthouse in the bankruptcy sale. The magazine is now owned by FriendFinder Networks.

April Guccione, Bob's fourth wife, said services would be private.

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