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Washington Times Contributor Andrew Breitbart Dead At Age 43

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Andrew Breitbart dead at 43. (Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Andrew Breitbart dead at 43. (Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) - Andrew Breitbart, Washington Times contributor, former editor at Drudge Report and most recently, news aggregation host for his own website, is dead at age 43.

The outspoken author and publisher is said to have died from natural causes at a Los Angeles hospital early Thursday morning.

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

Someone saw him fall and called paramedics, who tried to revive him. They rushed him to the emergency room at UCLA Medical Center, Bean said.

Breitbart had suffered 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 told The Associated Press.

WNEW has confirmed the death with Breitbart’s lawyer.

The following statement was displayed on Breitbart’s website:

“With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart. 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.”

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was “crestfallen” after learning of the conservative blogger’s death during a campaign speech in Georgia.

“That’s shocking,” Santorum said, according to ABC News. 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.”

Larry Sabato, director for the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia, told CBSDC that Breitbart was an “energetic defender of conservative precepts.”

“He certainly wasn’t afraid to share blunt opinions, and conservatives loved him for it.”

Breitbart was at the center of two video controversies in recent years — one that led to the firing of an Agriculture Department employee over an edited video of what appeared to be a racist remark, and another that embarrassed the community group ACORN when workers were shown counseling actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.

Breitbart is known for disseminating an edited video that showed an Agriculture Department employee making what appeared to be racist remarks.

Sherrod, who is black, was fired from her job as Georgia state rural development director in July 2010 after the video surfaced. She is seen telling a local NAACP group that she was initially 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. She has since filed a lawsuit against Breitbart.

Breitbart’s websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera sting video that brought embarrassment to the community group ACORN. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.

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

For more information on Breitbart’s passing, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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