Updating as details and reaction come in
Andrew Breitbart's websites announced thus morning that the conservative commentator and founder of a number of news and political websites died overnight of natural causes. Andrew lived in the Brentwood area, I believe, and was 43. Fox News and Associated Press cite his father-in-law, the actor Orson Bean, saying that Breitbart was walking near his home early this morning when he collapsed. He was taken to UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, where he could not be revived. Breitbart had apparently suffered heart problems a year ago, according to Fox News.
Breitbart.com has posted this message.
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.
Andrew recently wrote a new conclusion to his book, Righteous Indignation:I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.
Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.
Andrew is at rest, yet the happy warrior lives on, in each of us.
The message is posted at Breitbart.tv, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Peace. Breitbart worked for many years with the Drudge Report and helped to start the Huffington Post before becoming a fulltime anti-liberal activist and provocateur. His tactics on behalf of the Tea Party movement and in taking down Rep. Anthony Wiener, Shirley Sherrod and ACORN made him a controversial figure on the left, but a popular leader with many on the right. Breitbart and his wife, Susannah Bean Breitbart, have four children.
Updates after the jump
From Roger L. Simon, who like Breitbart grew up on the left then shifted right in recent years, and went on to found a conservative media network based in LA, in his case PJ Media:
When a whirlwind dies, there is a sudden quiet. Los Angeles this morning is deathly silent....
Among his many talents, Andrew was a brilliant headline writer.
And then came awesome entrepreneurship, spawning web sites the way guppies spawn babies — a man born of the Internet and born for it.
No more. Andrew Breitbart dead at 43.
My condolences to his wife and children.
My condolences to the conservative world.
My condolences to America, which has lost one of its truly great patriots. Andrew, more than anything, cared about his country. He worked for it non-stop. And now he has given his life for it.
LA Times columnist Jonah Goldberg: "He was the modern conservative iteration of a 1960s radical. When I say he was the most fearless guy I ever knew, it really is true. I mean, he truly loved the fight."
Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate: "What a huge loss, in my opinion, for our country and certainly for the conservative movement."
Nick Gillespie, Reason magazine: "Breitbart was a true pioneer in using the web to start often-raucous conversations and, far more important, challenged legacy media in important and transformative ways...A lot of people theorize about democratizing the public square and bringing new voices and sources into conversations about politics and culture. Breitbart actually did it. It wasn't always perfect and it wasn't always pretty, but he blazed a path that surely leads to a far richer and more interesting mediscape than the one we all grew up with."
Matt Drudge at the Drudge Report: "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."
Michelle Malkin, the conservative writer: "I'm stunned. He was kinetic, brash, relentless, full of fight, the bane of the Left, and a mentor to the next generation of right-wing activists and citizen journalists."
Historical note from Robin Abcarian on the LA Times website: Breitbart's father, Gerald, owned the Fox and Hounds restaurant in Santa Monica that later became Madame Wong's West.
Mitt Romney on Twitter: “Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of @AndrewBreitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father.”
Newt Gingrich: “Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity.”
Sarah Palin on Facebook: “We are all stunned and saddened by the news of Andrew Breitbart’s passing. Andrew was a warrior who stood on the side of what was right. He defended what was right. He defended the defenseless....God bless you, Andrew. Rest in peace, friend. We will continue the fight.”
Matt Welch, editor of Reason: "Operating with budgets the fraction of daily newspapers you will never hear of, Breitbart consistently and gleefully produced about the highest impact-per-dollar political muckraking in the mediasphere...He was a funny, warm, gregarious person who typically peaked at about 2 AM near a large outdoor fire. A totally doting husband and father of four, and typing those words is kind of devastating me right now."
Noah Shachtman, Wired magazine: "Zany, self-depreciating, unkempt, potty-mouthed and magnetic, Breitbart was impossible to dislike. He could talk to anybody, and he did. He loved cheesy ’80s music in inverse proportion to the bands’ quality. His poker playing was charmingly abysmal. His wife and enormous brood of kids were radiant. He saw himself as a high school nerd, about to wreak vengeance on the press’s popular kids with his new media plays."
Arianna Huffington: "All I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together — his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I’m thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now."
Mark Ebner, co-author with Breitbart of the 2005 book "Hollywood, Interrupted," is posting links and photos at his Facebook page.
Jon Fleischman, The Flash Report: "This loss of a warrior in the culture war is tragic on so many levels. I am so sick over this news. Andrew has been a close friend for a long time, and my prayers go out to his family."