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Conservative Publisher and Activist Andrew Breitbart Dies at 43

The publisher and author leaves behind a family and a loyal following.

Andrew Breibart, conservative media publisher and activist. (Photo courtesy of
Andrew Breibart, conservative media publisher and activist. (Photo courtesy of
Conservative activist and media publisher Andrew Breibart has died in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to his editor-in-chief and the Los Angeles County coroner's office. He had previously suffered from heart problems in the past year but doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause. He was 43 years old.

Breitbart was walking in a Brentwood neighborhood near his house shortly after midnight Thursday when his father-in-law, Orson Bean, said he collapsed. 

A witness called for paramedics who rushed him to UCLA Medical Center after attempting to revive him.

He is survived by his wife Susannah Bean Breitbart, 41, as well as his four children.

Reaction to his death was quick to appear on the web.

 "RIP 'O Mighty Warrior!" Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a tweet. One of Breitbart's biggest critics, the liberal watchdog Media Matters, said that the organization's "thoughts and prayers are with his family today."

Republican presidential candidates also provided their reactions to the activist's death.

Mitt Romeny said in a Twitter post, "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of @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."

After learning of his death at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, Rick Santorum called Breitbart a "powerful force" and said that, "he will be missed, what a huge loss ... for our country and certainly for the conservative movement and my prayers go out to his family."

Breitbart had a loyal following who praised what they called his efforts to unveil government corruption and bias in the media.

Throughout his career he was at the center of  several controversies, ranging from the firing of an Agricultural Department employee, to inappropriate action by the community group ACORN, to the resignation of Anthony Weiner.

Breitbart was at the center of disseminating an edited video of former Agricultural Department employees Shirley Sherrod which made her appear racist and which resulted in her dismissal. Missing from the widely distributed clip, however, was the remaining portion of her speech which showed the lesson she had learned of racial acceptance.

In the aftermath of the controversy, Sherrod has since filed a lawsuit against Breitbart, his employee, Larry O'Connor, and an unnamed "John Doe" defendant for "defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress."

In 2009, his websites, and, also featured a hidden-camera sting which showed ACORN staffers giving tax advice to other actors posed as a prostitute and a pimp.

The videos ignited huge amounts of criticism, especially after several ACORN employees appeared willing to participate in illegal actions such as illegal trafficking of children and misuse of public funds.

Later, an internal review said the videos misrepresented ACORN employees and an internal investigation cleared ACORN of criminal activities.

The damage from public outrage over the videos had a definite impact on Congress despite the clearance of the company, and public pressure led Congress to block previously approved funding as well as future funding for ACORN, causing the group to disband.

Breitbart's actions also launched a controversy involving Anthony Weiner after a lewd photograph was posted on Breitbart's website that had reportedly been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

After widespread public pressure and scrutiny, Weiner gave a public confession on June 6, 2011 at a Manhattan news conference and addressed his online involvement with at least six women.

Breitbart was known for proudly and harshly criticizing liberal figures, even tweeting after Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died, "Rest in Chappaquiddick" and calling him "a special pile of human excrement."

His statements drew negative attention and when his tone was brought into question by critics, Breitbart responded by tweeting that they had: "missed my best ones!"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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