Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012

Conservative blogger collapsed and died in Brentwood

His fiery rhetoric and take-no-prisoners style made him the darling of the political right and the Tea Party and an object of scorn among liberals.

And that's just how he liked it.

Andrew Breitbart, who died Thursday at the age of 43, reveled in his role as an outlier and firebrand. In the wake of his death, news outlets and political leaders recognized the sheer force of his approach.

He once said that if you can't say something nice about a person, say mean things instead. "Especially if they are unapologetic manslaughterers." called Andrew Breitbart "a 100 percent polarizing political lightning rod."

He called himself "an accidental cultural warrior."

Republican candidates are mourning the conservative star, who was a former entertainment reporter, with a resume that included collaboration with Arianna Huffington and Matt Drudge.

"It's a big shock," said GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. "What a powerful force."

Mitt Romney tweeted: "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Breitbart, a brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father."

Breitbart, who was adopted as an infant and raised in an affluent Brentwood home, skewered liberals and Democrats, and didn't reserve his vitriol for the living. Immediately following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, Breibart labeled him a "villain" and "a special pile of human excrement." 

He played a pivotal role in the demise of Congressman Anthony Weiner by posting his inappropriate photos.

Former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod lost her job after Breitbart posted what turned out to be altered videos of her helping a white farmer. Despite that, on Thursday, Sherrod offered her condolences for man who leaved behind a wife and four young children.

Arthur Sando of Los Angeles says he sat next to Breitbart Wednesday night at a local bar, shortly before he died. Sando says the blogger was itching for political debate.

"I said you probably aren't too happy with the slate of Republican candidates in the race right now." said Sando. "He said, 'why would you say that!' I said, their debates, they're talking about contraception. And he said, 'well that’s all being framed by the elite liberal media!

Breitbart's  family says he was a one of a kind.

"Anybody who knew Andrew loved him," said actor Orson Bean, Breitbart's father-in-law. "And a lot of people don't like him because they never met him."

"I'd just like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family," said Sando. "Such a young man, a young family. My heart goes out to them."

Breitbart is survived by his wife, Susannah, four children, his parents and a sister. No memorial plans have been announced.

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