Mike Flynn, the original Editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart’s groundbreaking website Big Government, has passed away overnight. The cause of death was not revealed in a statement released by his widow, Holly Flynn:

It is with extreme sadness and heartbreak to announce that Mike Flynn, an Editor at Breitbart News, unexpectedly passed away Thursday evening.

While Mike had many accomplishments, what he was most proud of, was being an amazing father, husband, son, and friend to all who knew him.

The family wishes for privacy at this difficult time.

Flynn was one of the original merry band of warriors and generals recruited and empowered by the late Andrew Breitbart back in 2009. Along with John Nolte who ran Big Hollywood, Michael Walsh (succeeded by Dana Loesch) at Big Journalism,  Alex Marlow, Breitbart’s Associate Editor (now Editor-in-chief) and the author of this column who ran Breitbart.TV, Flynn was an integral part of the early days of the Breitbart “Big Blog” revolution.

Flynn was the man who spear-headed Breitbart’s roll-out of the Acorn video series when Big Government first launched in 2009. As Breitbart’s sole employee in Washington DC in those early days, Flynn was the pivot person for every story and strategy focused on the federal government and national politics.

To his friends, Flynn was fiercely loyal, quick witted, intelligent and relentless in his defense of America’s founding ideals and the notion that individuals should have the right to live their lives without intrusion of the federal government in their lives. To his political adversaries he was tenacious and formidable yet quick with a joke and a cocktail at the end of a long, hard-fought battle.

Flynn’s laugh was infectious and boisterous and his ability to find a political ally in almost every district in the country when a story popped up was legendary. There were many times when a tip would come in to the Breitbart editorial team and Flynn would jump on to a conference call to dazzle all of us with his knowledge of exactly what the local, state and national ramifications would be on how the potential story would play out. He almost always “knew a guy” who could get a grass-roots video to turn a story into a blockbuster.

His efforts with Big Government were instrumental in many seats flipping from Democrat to Republican in 2010 and he was a frequent guest on talk radio and cable news on behalf of the Breitbart media empire.

Larry Solov, CEO of Breitbart News issued a statement in the wee hours of the morning:

“Mike was a dear friend and was there in the trenches with us from the beginning. He was our original editor of the Big Government website and is and will forever remain an indelible part of Breitbart. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to his family on this terrible night. Mike will be sorely missed.”

Prior to joining Breitbart, Flynn worked for Reason Magazine. When the James O’Keefe/Acorn story broke at BBig Government, he appeared on Reason.TV to explain the ramifications of the story:

Mike Flynn was a warrior who measured his effectiveness not just with the political scalps he obtained through exposing corruption at the highest levels of government but with the friends and allies he racked up through his tenacious efforts for a common cause. He loved this country and could speak eloquently and at length on the courage, foresight and brilliance of the founding fathers, but also of the unnamed patriots who did the actual fighting in the trenches during our nation’s founding.

During political debates Flynn would also say something like “I’m pretty sure those boys at Valley Forge didn’t freeze their toes off fighting for our independence just so this congressman can get a boondoggle project paid for on the tax-payer’s dime.” It was that kind of passion and wit that made Flynn one of a kind and he will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace, American patriot and happy warrior Michael Flynn.

UPDATE: A short audio tribute from this morning’s WMAL radio in Washington DC.

Mike Flynn