Just after midnight on Thursday morning, conservative blogger and journalist Andrew Breitbart passed away unexpectedly from natural causes at the age of 43, The Huffington Post reported.
Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with his politics, today we’re left only with the sense of humanity that encompasses us all when faced with a loss.
Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group released this statement on Thursday:
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.
Too often when people pass, we’re afraid to speak about the grief. As Judith Johnson, HuffPost blogger, explained in a 2010 post:
Both individually and collectively, we are paying an enormous emotional and financial price for being silenced by our society's taboo against talking about death and dying. Other societies educate their members about the reality of death and the processes of dying and grieving. We do not. We are left to figure it out for ourselves, relying on doctors and funeral directors to tell us what to do once we are face to face with death. We don't know what to say, what to do, how to cope or to grieve.
Credited by the Los Angeles Times in 2010 as the "star" of the tea party movement, Breitbart founded several news sites, including www.Breitbart.com. (He also played a role in The Huffington Post early on.) An integral player in Republican politics, Breitbart has been at the center of several scandals, including being the first to post U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s explicit Twitter photos last year.
Outspoken and ubiquitous, Breitbart’s political leanings pitted him as "a star on the right and a villain to the left," CNN explains.
But today, in the wake of his all-too-soon passing, that's not what matters. When any of us loses a loved one, what we hold onto is the essence of their spirit, not the differences we once had. In Breitbart’s case, we remember a self-identified warrior who fought for his convictions. We remember a father of four. We remember a friend.
A post on his website Big Journalism stated: "Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love … Andrew is at rest, yet the happy warrior lives on, in each of us."
So let’s learn how to grieve better, together. As we remember Breitbart today at The Huffington Post, we invite you in the comments of this article to please share the spirit, the lessons and the character of the loved ones you’ve lost. If you’d like to share a blog about your loved one, please email us at email@example.com. Or Tweet your thoughts @HealthyLiving using the hashtag #WhoIMiss.
Here, a few of the messages we’ve received about Breitbart from HuffPost commenters so far today:
He will be missed, even by those who enjoyed the spirited debate with him. His ultimate gift just may be the civility of the comments on this board. As many have said, you didn't have to agree with him to respect his right to speak his mind and the passion with which he did so.
Though I have had many disagreements with Mr. Breitbart, I extend condolences to his family!
I am heartbroken. Andrew was a defender of liberty and a Prince among men. He was hysterically funny, loved a good fight and called it liked he saw it. He will forever be missed. My prayers to his beloved family.