Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATES: A number of high-profile conservatives on Thursday publicly mourned the loss of Andrew Breitbart, a conservative journalist who Sarah Palin declared was "a warrior who stood on the side of what was right."
Here's a small sampling from some of the more bold-faced names:
Rick Santorum, who learned of the news from reporters after a campaign stop in Georgia (via ABC News): "I’m crestfallen, that’s terrible ... that’s shocking. Obviously prayers go to him and his family and it’s a big shock. What a powerful voice. It’s almost you mean you think of anyone who’s more energy who’s out there constantly driving and pushing he would be. What a huge loss in my opinion for our country and certainly for the conservative movement and the prayers go out to my family. I’m sorry to hear it."
Newt Gingrich tweeted: "Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity."
Palin, who posted her statement on Facebook:
Andrew was a warrior who stood on the side of what was right. He defended what was right. He defended the defenseless.
It is so sad to consider his four young children who have lost their dad. All our prayers are with his family now. May God comfort his wife and children.
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.
God bless you, Andrew. Rest in peace, friend. We will continue the fight.
Matt Drudge, who posted his thoughts to his popular 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.
Breitbart's father-in-law, Orson Bean, told the Associated Press that the conservative publisher was out walking near his house in the Brentwood neighborhood shortly after midnight when he collapsed. He was then rushed to the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he later died.
Bean said it was still unclear exactly what the cause of death was. But Politico points out that Fox News host Sean Hannity mentioned Thursday morning that Breitbart had a past history of heart problems.
Thursday, March 1: Conservative journalist and publisher Andrew Breitbart died early Thursday morning of natural causes in the Los Angeles area, according to one of his websites. He was 43.
"We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior," Breitbart.com president Larry Solov wrote. "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."
Before stepping out on his own to start a handful of aggregation sites, Breitbart played key roles in both the formation of the Huffington Post and the growth of the Drudge Report. He was a hero among conservatives for his efforts to expose what he saw as a liberal media bias and a corrupt government, and a villain for many on the left who questioned his own journalistic ethics and motivation.
Expect Slate's David Weigel to have more on Breitbart and his legacy shortly. In the meantime, you can read Chris Beam's 2010 profile of the conservative firebrand here:
The first time I saw Andrew Breitbart, he was publicly insulting a reporter. "Kate Zernike of the New York Times, are you in the room?" he asked the crowd. "Are you in the room?" Heads turned. Apparently not. "You're despicable," Breitbart said. "You're a despicable human being." Read more.
And check out a video compilation of some of his Breitbart's greatest outbursts below: