Andrew Breitbart at Right Nation 2010
Chicago News Bench photo (c) T.H.Mannis
March 1, 2012 - Conservative commentator, former liberal, political warrior and internet publisher Andrew Breitbart has died of natural causes.  Breitbart was pronounced dead at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center "about midnight" according to the Los Angeles Times.

Reuters reports that Breitbart's time of death was 12:19 a.m. Breitbart was taken to the hospital after collapsing while taking a walk near his home in L.A. Reuters hints at the possibility that Breitbart died of a heart attack, but that has not been confirmed. ABC News notes that Breitbart had history of heart problems.

"He collapsed on the sidewalk," Reuters was told by Breitbart's father-in-law, actor Orson Bean, "and the paramedics were there very quickly and they couldn't revive him." Bean spoke to Reuters by phone.  An autopsy may be performed as early as tomorrow.

The International Business Times (IBT) says that Los Angeles Coroner told them via e-mail Thursday morning that the Breitbart's cause of death was not yet known and an examination of the body was still pending. "Craig R. Harvey, chief coroner investigator and chief of operations for the Los Angeles Coroner's Office confirmed Andrew Breitbart's time of death as being 12:19 a.m. Thursday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles," says IBT.

Breitbart and his team of citizen journalists have broken ground by highlighting stories that most or all other media ignored. 

The Anthony Weiner scandal ("Weingergate") of 2010 is one example, as are the exposes of ACORN. He was a giant figure in the world of Internet journalism, helping get both the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post off the ground.

The NY Daily News gives this capsule history of Breitbart:

He was the "adopted son of a restaurant owner and a banker — was raised in a liberal, Jewish household in Los Angeles. He said his political outlook shifted after the Clarence Thomas hearings, in which the future Supreme Court Justice was grilled by Senate Democrats over Anita Hill's accusations of past workplace sexual harassment.... The Tulane graduate got his start in the online news world as an assistant to conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge in the 1990s. He helped turn the struggling Drudge Report into one of the most influential websites on the Internet, read daily by opinion makers and power brokers.

Breitbart friend Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group released this kind statement today:

I was asked many times this morning for my thoughts on what Andrew meant to the political world, but all I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together -- his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I'm thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now.

Predictably and sadly, the conspiracy theorists are already wondering aloud whether Breitbart's death was really natural. Some are saying Brietbart might have been assassinated. More on that later, although I do not wear that tinfoil hat.

Andrew Breitbart's websites are: BigGovernment, BigJournalism, BigHollywood, BigPeace, BreitbartTV and