Hugh Hefner's family and friends 'pleasantly surprised' by his wife's actions before his death

Hugh Hefner's widow, Crystal Harris, surprised the Playboy founder's family and friends with her behavior during his final years alive.

Despite initial skepticism about her motives when she married Hefner in 2012 at the age of 26, the now 31-year-old Harris won his family over by standing by his side amid his declining health. According to TMZ, Hefner's third wife "surprised" a lot of people by supporting him and loving him as he needed assistance walking before becoming bedridden.

SEE ALSO: Hugh Hefner’s widow breaks silence after Playboy founder’s death

Sources close to Hefner referred to Harris as a "pillar of strength" for the iconic publisher as he battled back problems, septicemia and a more recent E. coli infection.

See photos of Crystal Harris and Hugh Hefner:

TMZ reported on Thursday that Harris accompanied Hefner to his various doctor's appointments, organized game and movie nights for him and physically stayed by his side when he was bedridden in his last months.

"We're told the family's immensely grateful for her vigilance," the outlet reported.

The news comes a few days after Harris broke her silence on her late husband's passing.

"I haven't been able to bring myself to write most people back to thank them for their condolences," she said in a statement earlier this week. "I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief."

READ MORE: Hugh Hefner secretly set up wife Crystal Harris to get millions upon his death

Thought initial claims indicated that Harris was going to get nothing from her husband's multi-million-dollar fortune due to an "ironclad" will, it was later revealed that Hefner had secretly set up his wife with much more than nothing.

See photos of Hugh Hefner throughout his life:

In actuality, Hefner allocated $5 million to Harris upon his death in addition to purchasing a 5,900-square-foot home for her in the Hollywood Hills.

SEE ALSO: Hugh Hefner's leaked death certificate reveals secret ailments he was suffering from

Clearly, Hefner and Harris shared not only a true connection with one another, but it was a mutually beneficial marriage. Harris stood by her husband as his health declined, and Hefner made sure that his gratitude was reflected when he passed.

Hugh Hefner was 91 when he passed away on Sept. 27 at the Playboy Mansion. He was buried next to his favorite Playboy Playmate of all time, Marilyn Monroe, in a private ceremony over the weekend.

RELATED: Playboy magazine through the years:

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