Big Journalism is reporting that Andrew Breitbart, the well-known and controversial blogger, author, and web impresario Andrew Breitbart has died. In his roles at Drudge, Huffington Post, and his suite of "Big" sites, Breitbart was a true pioneer in using the web to start often-raucous conversations and, far more important, challenged legacy media in important and transformative ways. From Big Journalism's notice:

Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.

We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

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 recently wrote a new conclusion to his book, Righteous Indignation:

"I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.

"Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night."

Andrew is at rest, yet the happy warrior lives on, in each of us.

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Media inquiries: jpollak@breitbart.com

More on this as it develops. Andrew was a frequent and welcome guest at Reason events and, even when we disagreed with him on various issues, we always appreciated the massive energy, conviction, and humor he brought to any situation. Long after the various controversies and flame wars with which he was involved have been forgotten, his impact on 21st century media, especially his role in hastening the demise of a hidebound, pretentious, and faux-independent media, will continue. A lot of people theorize about democratizing the public square and bringing new voices and sources into conversations about politics and culture. Breitbart actually did it. It wasn't always perfect and it wasn't always pretty, but he blazed a path that surely leads to a far richer and more interesting mediscape than the one we all grew up with.

In 2008, Andrew, along with Fox News Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld, joined Matt Welch and me to talk about politics and culture at the Reason DC HQ. Here's that's video:

 

Reason.com contributor caught up to Breitbart on this year's CPAC in DC and asked him about libertarians. Read and watch his reply here.