LAS VEGAS — Dennis Hof — the owner of a number of Nevada brothels, TV show star and candidate for the state Legislature — has died. He was 72.
Hof passed away at his Love Ranch South brothel Tuesday morning, according to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. His death occurred two days after his birthday.
Hof was known nationwide for his role in the HBO series "Cathouse," which documented the lives of the workers in his half-a-dozen Nevada brothels.
Hof started his brothel business with his purchase of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in 1992. Nye County officials recently closed the Love Ranch South brothel which was reopened after a win in court.
The always-quotable Hof ran a successful campaign in the primary election for an Assembly seat and was facing Democrat Leisa Romanov in the November general election. At times, Hof called himself the “Trump of Pahrump,” after the city he heralded from.
Nevada officials said ballots with Hof's name have already been printed and mailed to voters but signs will be posted at polling places notifying voters that the candidate has died.
Marc Randazza, who represented Hof as legal counsel, said that “Dennis was a man from another age, dropped into our time.”
“For all his bombast, if you got to know the man, he was not just the persona you saw on TV and in the press,” Randazza told XBIZ. “He was a genuinely kind man — who saw it as his duty to make sure that everyone around him was always taken care of, and that they had a hell of a time.
“He was a true warrior for freedom and liberty — taking on causes that would likely provide little benefit to himself, but that were ‘the right thing to do’ from a First Amendment perspective.
“At least he lived a hell of a life. An uncommon life. And, to the extent anyone believes in an afterlife, I can assure you, that the other side just got a hell of a lot more fun.”
Hof spent last night at a birthday celebration at the Pahrump Nugget and was in fine health. Pahrump, where Hof owned the Love Ranch, is located north of Las Vegas.
Hof had travelled earlier in the day from Reno with adult icon Ron Jeremy and former madame Heidi Fleiss. Fleiss noted that the three had a “good time” during the eight-hour drive.
“Dennis was joking about Ron’s health and how he needed to take better care of himself,” Fleiss said. “We were all making fun of Ron and just generally life.”
Last night, Fleiss, Jeremy and others celebrated with Hof at a campaign rally in Pahrump.
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who attended the party, said he was astounded to hear about Hof's death and called it "shocking."
The former sheriff said Hof was in good spirits when Arpaio left the party around 10 p.m. He was asked by Hof to speak at the party.
According to the Daily Mail, Jeremy went to wake up Hof about 11 a.m. and found him unresponsive.
Fleiss said: "Dennis was really excited about the future. I’m devastated about his death. I’m still in shock over it."
At post time, no cause of death has been determined. The Clark County Coroner will conduct an autopsy.