LOS ANGELES — Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart passed away unexpectedly from natural causes early Thursday, his website reported.
Breitbart, 43, a star of the tea party movement, died shortly after midnight in Los Angeles, the website said.
The following statement was posted on Breitbart's website today:
"With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart.
"We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior."
Breitbart helped launch the Huffington Post. He has worked for the Drudge Report and wrote several books, including "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity." He launched Breitbart.com in 2005, later adding a series of "subsites," including BigGovernment.com, to counter what he saw as liberal bias in the media.
Breitbart was beloved in conservative circles but also controversial.
In 2010, Shirley Sherrod filed a defamation suit against Breitbart, alleging that the conservative gadfly triggered her firing from the Agriculture Department by the Obama administration and ignited a national debate on race and reverse discrimination.
The Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian visited his office in West Los Angeles in 2010. "The command center of Andrew Breitbart's growing media empire is a suite of offices on Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles with the temporary feel of a campaign office. Only the computers seem firmly anchored."
According to that profile, Breitbart lived in Westwood with his wife, Susie, and their four young children. He was adopted by moderately conservative Jewish parents and attended two of L.A.'s most exclusive private schools - Carlthorp and Brentwood.
His father, Gerald, owned Fox and Hounds, a landmark Tudor-style Santa Monica restaurant that later became the punk rock club Madame Wong's West. His mother, Arlene, was an executive for Bank of America in Beverly Hills and downtown L.A.
Rong-Gong Lin II writes for the Los Angeles Times. Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com.