USMagazine, Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 4:20pm (PST)
As fans flock to Facebook to share their condolences over the death of Hugh Hefner's longtime secretary, Mary O'Connor, former Girls Next Door star Kendra Wilkinson is also paying tribute to the beloved Playboy housemother. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Hef's ex-girlfriend honored O'Connor with a moving blog post entitled "I'll Always Remember You, Mary," in which she reminisces about their time together.
"I'm devastated to hear about the passing of Mary O'Connor," Wilkinson begins. "Some of you probably recognize her as Hef's secretary from The Girls Next Door. But Mary was a lot more than that to those who knew her."
In fact, O'Connor was "almost like a therapist" for the girls at the mansion. "Over the years, she helped me through a lot," Wilkinson writes. "She was a shoulder to cry on when I needed it and [was] always there to give me advice when I was going through a tough time."
One of the model's favorite memories of her friend was when O'Connor showed up at Wilkinson's bridal shower wearing a shower cap. (The Girls Next Door alum married former NFL player Hank Baskett in June 2009; they have a 3-year-old son, Hank Baskett IV.)
"She was a wonderful person and I wouldn't be the person I am without her," Wilkinson says of the secretary.
O'Connor passed away at the age of 84 on Sunday, Jan. 27, after a "short illness," according to a statement on her memorial page. A source tells Us Weekly that "everyone at the mansion are taking this really hard" -- but perhaps no one more so than Hefner himself. The 86-year-old Playboy mogul is said to be "devastated" over her death.
"Mary passed away today," Hefner wrote on Twitter after her passing. "We loved her more than words can say."