Andrew Breitbart, the conservative commentator, author and media entrepreneur, died Thursday, March 1, according to a company spokesman.
He was 43, and died “unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles,” a statement published on Breitbart.com read.
Breitbart, who was a 2010 Forward 50 selection, led a right-wing media empire, which published such websites as Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism and Big Peace.
“Andrew was always a proud Jew,” Joel B. Pollack, Breitbart.com’s editor-in-chief and in-house counsel, told the Forward in an email confirming his death.
In November 2010, the Forward wrote:
Breitbart represents a Tea Party-friendly slice of the Jewish world. So far, his media activism has focused on areas outside the Jewish community, but that could change soon, with the promised launch of a new Breitbart site, Big Jerusalem. “It’s going to be pro-Palestinian nationalism — kind of Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade-esque, but with hints of pop culture and snarkiness,” Breitbart told The New Yorker this year — a statement made “with heavy irony,” the magazine was quick to note.
Big Jerusalem had yet to launch at the time of his death.
Breitbart was raised Jewish by his adoptive family.
In 2010, his websites posted a heavily edited video that purported to show U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod making racially charged statements. Sherrod was promptly fired, but was asked to return to work after an unedited version of her speech surfaced, and the White House determined that her remarks had been taken out of context.
The following year Breitbart’s Big Government broke the story that Rep. Anthony Weiner had posted lewd pictures of himself on Twitter, and the scandal that ensued ultimately led to Weiner’s resignation.