The NY Times has an extensive profile and interview with Hugh Hefner, the 84 year-old Playboy found who is currently engaged to a 24 year-old Playmate.

They paint a picture of Hef as a kind of durable icon of years gone by, a living symbol of a sophisticated outlook on sex that has become almost quaint.

And even though his health had deteriorated, he was still living a good life.

He still had most of his faculties.” Recalling the first time they met nearly five decades ago, Benton, who was a UCLA student at the time, says Hefner came up to her while she was studying during a break on set.

In his final months, Hugh Hefner surrounded himself with a small circle of friends and family — including longtime love Barbi Benton.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE in this week’s issue, Benton, 67, opens up about her memories of the late publishing pioneer, who died Wednesday at 91.

“I felt like he kind of knew that it was coming to an end.

When I left, he said, ‘I hope you come up and see me more often.’ “ Hefner suffered from a long-term back condition that limited his mobility, and according to Benton — who noticed that his memory was “fading” — he admitted to being “in poor health,” though he was certain that he would be around for longer.“He didn’t think he was going to die anytime in the immediate future,” she continues.“He was upset [with reports] that said he didn’t have much time left. I’m not going anywhere just yet.’ “ RELATED VIDEO: The Playboy Mansion — What Happens to the Famed Party Palace & Hugh Hefner’s Beloved Home Now?Benton says that Hefner wasn’t afraid of death, but rather “was always humorous” about it.“He wasn’t looking forward to death, but knowing he was going to die — he has the best resting place,” she says.It’s also a life that is exceptionally well documented.