US & Canada

Dennis Hof: Nevada brothel owner and reality star dies at 72

Ron Jeremy and Dennis Hof Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dennis Hof (right) was allegedly found dead in his sleep by adult film star Ron Jeremy (left)

Dennis Hof, known best for owning a number of legal brothels in the US state of Nevada, has died aged 72.

The brothel owner was a media figure in the US, and starred in an HBO reality series for nine years about one of his brothels.

At the time of his death he was also running for office in the Nevada State Assembly as a Republican.

Police said he was found dead at his Love Ranch in Pahrump, in Nye County on Tuesday morning.

The local sheriff's office said on Twitter they are investigating his death, but gave no further information.

His campaign manager Chuck Muth said Hof had died "quietly in his sleep" and was found on Tuesday morning by adult film star Ron Jeremy, who had tried to wake him for a meeting.

Dubbing himself the "Trump of Pahrump", Hof caused a political upset in June when he clinched the Republican nomination in his local state assembly primary against a three-term incumbent candidate.

His death comes just two days after he turned 72.

On Monday he held a birthday party and campaign rally where he spoke to media, with several high-profile conservative and sex industry guests said to be in attendance.

His campaign manager told the Reno Gazette that Hof had been having "the time of his life" at the event.

Image copyright Getty Images

Local reports suggest his name will remain on the ballot in November, and if he gets the most votes, the seat could then be filled by an appointed representative in his absence.

His Democratic opponent in the race, Lesia Romanov, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal she was "stunned by the news".

"My heart goes out to those who care about him. Just a crazy turn of events. Wow. All I can say is wow," she said on Tuesday.

Media controversy

The flamboyant brothel owner had starred in a reality TV series called Cathouse on the HBO network from 2005 to 2014.

He also made news headlines in 2015 when former basketball star Lamar Odom overdosed at one of his facilities after a four-day $75,000 (£56,000) stay.

In the same year he released an autobiography about his life and career, titled The Art of the Pimp: One Man's Search for Love, Sex, and Money.

At the time of Hof's death he owned several brothels across Nevada - the only US state where regulated prostitution is permitted.

Last month authorities there confirmed they were investigating an allegation of sexual assault against him.

In a statement, Hof "completely and totally" denied any assault took place, and labelled the allegation "groundless and politically motivated".

Hof was also accused of raping a prostitute at one of his facilities in 2005, and other allegations were made against him in 2009 and 2011, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

He did not face charges in relation to any of the allegations, with authorities citing a lack of evidence.

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