AceShowbiz - %cCrystal Harris% breaks her silence following the death of her husband %cHugh Hefner% at 91 on Wednesday, September 27. Speaking to PEOPLE, the 31-year-old model opens up about her feelings as she mourns the Playboy magazine founder.
"I haven't been able to bring myself to write most people back to thank them for their condolences. I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief," she reveals. "We laid him to rest Saturday. He is in the place he was always certain he wanted to spend eternity."
Harris, who was married to the media mogul in 2012, continues saying that Hefner is "an American Hero," before adding, "A pioneer. A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world." She goes on saying, "He gave me direction. He taught me kindness. I will feel eternally grateful to have been by his side, holding his hand, and telling him how much I love him."
"He changed my life, he saved my life. He made me feel loved every single day. He was a beacon to the world, a force unlike anything else. There never has and never will be another Hugh M. Hefner," she gushes. "I join the world in mourning. I thank you for all of your condolences. To the people leaving sentiments at the front gate, we see you and grieve with you."
Harris was Hefner's third wife. The late publishing pioneer was previously married to college sweetheart %cMillie Williams% from 1949-1959, followed by Playboy model %cKimberley Conrad% in July 1989 before their divorce was finalized in 2010.
As for Harris, she made her Playboy debut at the age of 24 as the magazine's December Playmate in 2009. Despite the huge age gap, Hefner previously said of his relationship with Harris, "The truth of the matter is we have a great deal in common. We really complement one another, we have a wonderful time together, and I love her."
Hefner, who died from "natural causes" at his Playboy Mansion, went to final resting place in a private ceremony on Saturday. The small ceremony was reportedly attended by Harris, key staffers as well as Hefner's four children, Christie, David, Marston and Cooper. He was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles in a crypt next to %cMarilyn Monroe%.