The Los Angeles County coroner will probe the death of conservative blogger Andrew Brietbart, who died while out for an after-midnight walk this morning.
Because of Breitbart’s age — he was just 43 — and the unexpected death, authorities say they will do an autopsy to determine the cause of death, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Breitbart had left his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles to go for a walk. He was discovered collapsed on the sidewalk at around 12:30 a.m. He was taken to the emergency room at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Breitbart’s father-in-law, “Desperate Housewives” actor Orson Bean, told the Times, “It looks like a heart attack, but no one knows.”
Breitbart and his wife, Susie Bean Breitbart, had four children, Samson, 12, Mia, 10, Charlie, 6, and William, 4.
Breitbart started his career at the Drudge Report, where he stayed for 10 years before moving to the Huffington Post and then founding his own websites, including BigJournalism, BigHollywood, and BigGovernment.
He was an outspoken critic of the mainstream media and reveled in exposing government corruption and bias. He was central in last year’s scandal that led to Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner resigning from Congress after sending a series of risqué pictures to young women.
Breitbart courted controversy, which he found when he released an edited video of Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod making what appeared to be a racist remark in 2010.
Sherrod, who is black, was fired from her job as Georgia state rural development director after the video surfaced. In it, she is seen telling a local NAACP group that she was reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA.
Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm.
Following his death, Sherrod, who was in the process of suing Breitbart, told The Washington Post, “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 during this very difficult time.”
Breitbart’s sudden death caused shockwaves in conservative circles, where his firebrand style of journalism had won him many admirers. Republican presidential candidates were among many who paid tribute to his work:
- Newt Gingrich: "Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity."
- Rick Santorum: “What a powerful force. What a huge loss, in my opinion, for our country and certainly for the conservative movement."
- In a Twitter message, Mitt Romney called him, “Brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father.”
- Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report: “Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion, and commitment.”
- Rush Limbaugh: “He literally was an indefatigable bulldog for the conservative cause.”
- Glenn Beck: "We pray for his family, we pray for his children, and we pray that his mission to expose those who need to be exposed continues.”
- Conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg: "He was the modern conservative iteration of a 1960's radical. When I say he was the most fearless guy I ever knew, it really is true. He truly loved the fight.”
- Erick Erickson of the conservative blog RedState.com: Breitbart's death was “like a supernova has gone dark.”
- Political pundit Tucker Carlson said he had spoken to Breitbart last night: "He was so completely and utterly entertaining and truly, I would say, one of the more generous people I've ever known.”
- CNN contributor Dana Loesch: “It’s a very sad loss today. He stood for truth.”
- New York Post columnist Michelle Malkin called him “a mentor to the next generation of right-wing activists and citizen journalists.”
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