Andrew Breitbart, RIP


The conservative journalist and web entrepreneur died today at age 43., one of the sites he launched, posted this message on its site.

“Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.

“We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

“Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.”

More here.

His Twitter posts — which reflected his passion for political combat — show that he posted until evening on Wednesday.

Breitbart reflected a polarization of the media, and he insisted that his sites were to counter liberal bias in the media and Hollywood. He won national attention for exposes on Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture official who eventually resigned, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who also resigned after posting half-naked pictures of himself on Twitter. Breitbart also supported the efforts of James O’Keefe to conduct a “sting” operation on the fund-raising practices of NPR. Sherrod later filed suit against Breitbart, charging that the selective edits to a speech she gave before the NAACP defamed her.

Update: Actor Orson Bean, Breitbart’s father in law, tells the Associated Press that Breitbart had been walking near his house in Brentwood shortly after midnight when he collapsed. He had suffered heart problems a year earlier. “I don’t know what to say. It’s devastating,” Bean said.

Breitbart is survived by his wife, Susannah Bean Breitbart, 41, and four children.

Matt Drudge: “In the first decade of the Drudgereport Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what’s happening. I don’t think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind’s eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20’s. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today.”

Arianna Huffington: “My thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew Breitbart’s family and friends, especially his wife Susie and their 4 beautiful children.”

Glenn Beck, who had a falling out with Breitbart, said, “We pray for him family, we pray for his children and we pray that his mission to expose those who need to be exposed continues.”

GOP candidates and other national conservative figures paid tribute via Twitter and on cable news on Thursday morning.

“Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist media in America. He had great courage and creativity,” Newt Gingrich said in a statement.

“Andrew Breitbart never shied away from controversy,” Donald Rumsfeld said in a statement. “He was one of conservativism’s most forceful spokesmen and will be greatly missed.”

“Andrew’s death is a shock & huge loss,” said Rick Santorum in a tweet. “His courage should be an example to us all. Our prayers are with his family.”

Sarah Palin said on Facebook: “Many of us will have life-long memories of our work or encounters with Andrew. May we draw on those to help forward the cause of fighting for what is right. For me, just one of those memories was in Pella, Iowa, last year after the premiere of “The Undefeated.” Andrew held court in the restaurant at the local hotel talking about his favorite topic: how “culture is upstream of politics” and how conservatives must be unafraid to fight the leftwing media, cultural, and political establishments. The loss of his voice in this fight will be deeply felt, but thankfully his work lives on at his “Bigs,” and thank God for his inspiration and leadership.”

David Frum: [P]erhaps Breitbart’s most consequential innovation was his invention of a new kind of culture war. Until recently, the phrase “culture war” mainly described the political struggle over religion and sexuality. When Pat Buchanan declared a “culture war” from the rostrum of the Republican convention in 1992, he specifically cited abortion, gay rights, pornography, prayer in schools, and women in combat as the outstanding issues.

“Those were not the issues that much interested Andrew Breitbart. On gay rights, he held almost the polar opposite view of Buchanan’s in 1992.

“In fact, it’s hard even to use the word “issues” in connection with Andrew Breitbart. He may have used the words “left” and “right,” but it’s hard to imagine what he ever meant by those words. He waged a culture war minus the “culture,” as a pure struggle between personalities. Hence his intense focus on President Obama: only by hating a particular political man could Breitbart bring any order to his fundamentally apolitical emotions.”

Shirley Sherrod: “The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning. My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope through this very difficult time.”

Tucker Carlson paid tribute to Breitbart on Fox News.

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