The Brooklyn native, and unapologetic porn pioneer behind Screw magazine, Al Goldstein, died in New York this morning at the age of 77. He had been in a New York hospital this week, and his lawyer, Charles C. DeStefano, said the cause may have been renal failure. Goldstein was no stranger to health problems (suffering a stroke and a seizure in the past ten years). The Awl described the almost indescribable Goldstein as "an incredibly intelligent and hilarious man crippled by self-hatred, an inside-out Woody Allen, a lecherous troll from out of the Qumran caves."

There was some confusion earlier this week when Goldstein's friend, Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller (who paid for Goldstein's old Staten Island apartment), Tweeted that he was visiting him "as he dies in the hospital":

He later explained that Goldstein had not yet passed, but was not doing well:

When his magazine debuted in 1968, the manifesto was unyielding—it read, in part: “We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ. We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.”

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But Goldstein had quite a life even before his dirty mag days: "Before founding Screw, Goldstein was a radio car driver for Walter Winchell, a photographer for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (he was once jailed in Havana), a press photographer for Pakistan International Airlines (he accompanied Jackie Kennedy on her goodwill tour of Pakistan in 1962), and an industrial spy for a large corporation." He also turned up on New York's public access channels, later in life:

His life was filled with many ups and downs and twisted turns, enough for a book, and at different points he found himself living on a floor in Queens, a VA hospital, Rikers, a townhouse on East 61st Street, Florida (where a lawn statue was in the shape of a middle finger), the aforementioned Staten Island apartment, and a nursing home in Cobble Hill.

For more on his life, there's this 2011 Observer profile, and a lengthy obit from the NY Times.