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Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure, narrowing of artery, coroner finds

May 16, 2012 |  3:04 pm

More notable deaths of 2012

Conservative commentator and website editor Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure and had up to a 60% narrowing of a major artery, a Los Angeles County coroner's office report released Wednesday said.

The office ruled that the cause of Breitbart's death was heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with focal coronary atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Coroner's officials deemed the death "natural."

Breitbart collapsed near his Westwood home March 1. He was 43. Paramedics found Breitbart unable to breath and shocked him with a defibrillator four times. He was in full arrest and paramedics were administering CPR when he arrived in the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The report noted that despite heroic efforts, Breitbart was declared dead at 12:19 a.m. In the report, authorities said that a year before, he had a congestive heart failure and began a course of diet and exercise. The report notes that Breitbart had flu two weeks before and "has been under a lot of stress."

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

Breitbart spent his early professional life helping edit the Drudge Report and later helped launch the Huffington Post. In 2005 he started his own news aggregation site, Breitbart.com, which was designed to counter what he described as the "bully media cabal" that he said ignored stories at odds with prevailing liberal orthodoxy.

His goal, he often said, was to "destroy the institutional left."

His big splash came in 2009, when he posted an undercover video in which a pair of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend asked employees of the community group ACORN for help with a brothel that would house underage Salvadorans. ACORN was embarrassed when some of its workers seemed too helpful; Congress responded by defunding the organization.

Breitbart's mother-in-law, Alison Mills Bean, called Breitbart "one of the most genuine people I’ve met in my life.... He always spoke the truth of his heart and no matter what people agreed or disagreed with him he never wavered.

Breitbart is survived by his wife, four children, a sister and his parents, Jerry and Arlene.

Breitbart lived with his family in Westwood. He was adopted by moderately conservative Jewish parents and attended two of L.A.'s most exclusive private schools — Carlthorp and Brentwood.


Breitbart collapsed near Westwood home

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Review of Breitbart's book, 'Righteous Indignation'

-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

Photo: Andrew Breitbart signs his book, "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!" in Troy, Mich., on Feb. 25. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky / European Pressphoto Agency