Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure

Andrew Breitbart's death on March 1 was caused by an enlarged heart and heart disease, Chief Coroner Craig Harvey says.

Story highlights

  • Coroner: He had an enlarged heart and some heart disease
  • Breitbart, 43, was known for posting the Anthony Weiner Twitter photos last year
  • He was a star on the right and a villain to the left

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger whose posting of a sexually explicit photo of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner led to the congressman's downfall, died of heart failure, the Los Angeles County Coroner said in an autopsy report released Friday.

Breitbart, 43, died on March 1. The final cause of death was listed as heart failure, which was caused by Breitbart having an enlarged heart and some heart disease, said Chief Coroner Craig Harvey.

Breitbart had a small amount of alcohol in his system, but no prescription or illicit drugs were detected. No significant trauma was present and foul play is not suspected. A full report is expected to be available within two weeks.

Breitbart was the first to post Weiner's infamous Twitter photos last year, in which the married congressman appeared bare-chested and in his underpants in pictures sent to a woman online. Weiner eventually stepped down amid the scandal.

Breitbart's regular appearances on FOX News, his websites and his speeches to conservative groups made him a star on the right and a villain to the left.

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Republican presidential candidates quickly responded to news of Breitbart's death last month. Former Sen. Rick Santorum called him a "powerful force" who was "constantly out there driving and pushing."

"What a huge loss, in my opinion, to our country and certainly to the conservative movement," Santorum said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted: "Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity."

And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called Breitbart a "brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father."

Breitbart was a driving force in the conservative tea party movement. In a posting on the Tea Party Nation website, blogger Judson Phillips wrote that Breitbart was an "amazing patriot" who "relished fighting those who would destroy this great country."

Breitbart came under heavy criticism in 2010 for posting an edited and incomplete video of a speech by Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod, who is black, appearing to say she discriminated against a white farmer looking for assistance. She was forced to resign over the video.

A full version of the speech showed that Sherrod had assisted the farmer. The department later offered her job back when it was clear she had been misrepresented.

Breitbart also posted video of a sting operation against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which showed conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute seeking advice on how to set up a brothel.

The video prompted a groundswell of action against the organization, including a limited investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and a slashing of funds from the federal government and several states. ACORN went bankrupt and closed its doors.

Breitbart got his start helping to run the original right-wing online media behemoth the Drudge Report and helped launch The Huffington Post before founding his own websites.