It’s been just days since Hugh Hefner’s death and his widow, 31-year-old Crystal Hefner, has finally broken her silence about the heartbreaking loss. Clearly, the Hefner family is experiencing a great deal of grief, but when speaking with People magazine, she didn’t hold back when talking about her late husband. Watch the video below to see what Crystal had to say about the magazine mogul:

Apart from expressing her sadness, Crystal also showed admiration for the late icon. “He was an American hero. A pioneer,” she said. “A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world.”

The blonde beauty also made it clear that, even though he’s gone, the love they shared is still very much alive. “I felt how much he loved me. I loved him so much,” she said. “I am so grateful. He gave me life. 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.”

Following their 2011 engagement, Hugh opened up to People about their special bond. “Despite the age disparity, the truth of the matter is we have a great deal in common,” he said at the time. “We really complement one another, we have a wonderful time together, and I love her.”