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Reporting the death of Andrew Breitbart

The death of Andrew Breitbart, at the age of 43, came as a shock in TV newsrooms across the country. Breitbart, who suffered from heart problems, collapsed while walking in his Brentwood, CA neighborhood. He was pronounced dead just after Midnight.

Over the last few years, despite his disdain for the mainstream media, Breitbart had become a regular on cable news, taking a conservative stand, defending his latest scoop or just taking part in the conversation. His last national appearance was Tuesday night with Piers Morgan following results of the Arizona and Michigan primaries. “I’ve cleaned up and got my hair into an aerodynamic fashion for you,” Breitbart joked with Morgan.

FNC reported Breitbart’s death at 9:33amET and began a conversation for the next half hour with several of their anchors and contributors including Sean Hannity: “He had a level of courage that is really almost unmatched today in media;” Greg Gutfeld: “He is leaving a powerful legacy. He will be a legend.” Tucker Carlson: “I talked to him last night, seemed totally exuberant as he always does.” And Monica Crowley: “I have known very few people in my life who lived life to the hilt the way Andrew Breitbart did.”

CNN reported the news at 9:34am. CNN conservative contributor Erick Erickson phoned in at 10:19. “He really is like a super nova who has gone dark,” said Erickson. Another CNN contributor, Dana Loesh phoned in at 10:40. Loesch is the editor of Breitbart’s Big Journalism site. “Once you got to know him… to know him was to like him. Regardless of what you thought about his politics.”

MSNBC reported the breaking news at 9:41. Breitbart’s politics did not align with the political leanings of MSNBC, which may be why he always seemed to relish his appearances with anchors including Martin Bashir and Dylan Ratigan, and, when he was with MSNBC, David Shuster. Because of their contentious nature, those interviews often made headlines.

Breitbart, who was prolific on Twitter, sent his last Tweet at 11:26 PT, about 40 minutes before he was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center. It was a response to a blogger in Louisiana: “I called you a putz cause I thought you were being intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize.”

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