Even people who don’t regularly follow politics have no doubt heard the name Andrew Breitbart.
A former Washington Times columnist who claimed to have transitioned from liberal to conservative during the Clarence Thomas sexual harassment hearings, Breitbart in recent years became one of the right wing movement’s leading voices and publishers, due largely to his work with Matt Drudge.
Breitbart eventually broke off to pursue his own endeavors, including Breitbart.com, BigHollywood.com and independent articles at some of the most read conservative sites on the planet. He also helped break the Anthony Weiner sexting story, threw fuel on the Tea Party fire and manipulated video to make it seem as if former United States Department of Agriculture staffer Shirley Sherrod was racist.
Breitbart’s attorney and colleagues confirm the activist and writer died last night of natural causes. He was only 43-years old.
“With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart,” reads the “in memoriam” message at Breitbart.tv. “We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.”
The site also includes part of Breitbart’s conclusion for 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.
Though Breitbart’s politics were often divisive, discriminatory and based on lies, even his most passionate enemies can’t deny that he managed in his 43 years to leave an indelible mark on American life.
Image via Gage Skidmore’s Flickr.