Pornographer Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse magazine, built up his porn empire by publishing what his rivals daren’t, leading him to amass a whopping $500 million fortune.

But cancer has even fewer qualms over its victims. On Wednesday, the 79-year-old died in relative poverty after an epic battle with the disease.

Guccione was 34 and living in London when Hugh Hefner’s Playboy was launched in the UK. Its success inspired Guccione, then the manager of a dry-cleaning chain, to get dirty.

His idea was to create a sexed up version of the magazine, and with Penthouse he certainly did that. The magazine was the first to print full frontal female nudity and later went on to expose women in all their sensuous glory.

But with the rise of first video then internet pornography, Guccione’s fortunes soon started to nosedive, which was not helped by some dodgy investments and failed schemes to make a Penthouse casino in Atlantic City, and a small nuclear reactor to power his home.

Despite the trauma of later years, Guccione claimed he had no regrets.

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