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.
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.
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.