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Andrew Breitbart: RIP [UPDATED, BUMPED]

I knew Andrew Breitbart mostly through other people. Our paths crossed remarkably few times, considering our work. We'd said some pleasantries to one another. We taped a couple segments together during PJTV's early days. Once, I had to follow him on stage at a Tea Party rally. But what should have been intimidating was instead one of my easiest public appearances. Breitbart carried his scary-smart brain without any pretense, which just made him a joy to be around.

It seems everyone I work with, and most everyone I know, knew Andrew far better than I did. And they'll all tell you: Breitbart was the happy warrior, brilliant and fearless. I also knew him through his incredible taste in alt-rock music, which he shared on Twitter. He touched a lot of people. He was a great man.

"Great," of course, usually also means "difficult" and "infuriating." And, surely, to his enemies, he was both those things and more. To his friends -- and looking around today, you'll see that they were legion -- nothing could be further from the truth.

It's impossible to talk about "new media" without mentioning Andrew Breitbart. He helped invent it, starting with the Drudge Report, and kept helping to reinvent it right up until his untimely end.

Natural causes. At 43. His last tweet, his final public words, read, "I called you a putz cause I thought you were being intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize." That was Breitbart: funny, biting, and humble -- and going out fighting.

We should all be so lucky.

---

"Holy crap," that's all I have to say right now:

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.

We were the same age.

More later, I think.

MORE: Will Collier sent me the link. And my first response to him was, "Is this a hoax?" Not because I believed Andrew is capable of such a thing, but because it's just so sudden, unexpected, and unbelievable.

I'm still hoping this is some sort of horrible prank, but I'm certain it isn't.

UPDATE: The DC has confirmed that it's no hoax.