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Conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart dies at 43

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 2nd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Conservative commentator and publisher Andrew Breitbart has passed away - from natural causes, at the age of 43. Breitbart was walking near his home in the Brentwood neighborhood shortly after midnight when he collapsed, his father-in-law Orson Bean said. Rushed to the emergency room at UCLA Medical Center, he was later pronounced dead.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Breitbart's death was confirmed by the Los Angeles Coroner's Office.

He had been suffering from heart problems a year earlier, but Bean said he could not pinpoint what happened.

"I don't know what to say. It's devastating," Bean says. He is survived by his wife Susannah Bean Breitbart, 41, and four children.

In addition to publishing a number of Web sites devoted to repudiating what he saw as the liberal-dominated coverage of politics and culture, once served as an editor for the Drudge Report and helped Arianna Huffington launch the Huffington Post Web site.

Among his many accomplishments, Breitbart's investigations led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod brought a legal action for defamation against Breitbart last year.

Breitbart was an unabashed user of new media. Active on Twitter, he often re-tweeted criticism from some of his harshest critics.

Following news of his death, Breitbart's name shot to the top of Twitter trends and a number of Republican lawmakers tweeted their sympathies.

Even his harshest critics have since sent their condolences. Media Matters, the liberal watchdog that was a frequent Breitbart critic, said the organization's "thoughts and prayers are with his family today."

"We've disagreed more than we've found common ground, but there was never any question of Andrew's passion for and commitment to what he believed," Media Matters' Ari Rabin-Havt said.

Republican presidential contenders weighed in. Rick Santorum called Breitbart a "powerful force" after learning of his death from reporters at a rally in Dalton, Ga. "He will be what a huge loss ... for our country and certainly for the conservative movement and my prayers go out to his family," Santorum told reporters. "I'm really sorry to hear it."

Mitt Romney posted to Twitter: "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of (at)AndrewBreitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father."

Newt Gingrich tweeted: "Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity."

In must be noted that Breitbart was vitriolic to his critics and seemed to welcome the negative attention his antics earned him.

After Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts died in 2009, Breitbart tweeted "Rest in Chappaquiddick" and called him "a special pile of human excrement." When critics questioned his tone, he tweeted they "missed my best ones!"

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