Orson Bean
Actor Orson Bean, Andrew Breitbart's father-in-law, is seen here in a scene from a 1960 episode of "The Twilight Zone." wikipedia.org

Orson Bean, Andrew Breitbart's father-in-law, said Thursday that his unexpected death looks like a heart attack.

Bean spoke with the Los Angeles Times Thursday after news broke that Breitbart had died, and told the paper the following:

We're devastated. I loved him like a son. ... It looks like a heart attack, but no one knows until an autopsy is done.

Orson Bean, an accomplished TV, film and theater actor with credits ranging from a 1960 Twilight Zone episode to the 1999 movie Being John Malkovich, has spoken out a number of times about Breitbart's death since the conservative media figure passed away at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles early Thursday morning.

Around midnight Thursday, Breitbart, 43, was walking near his Brentwood home, when an unidentified witness saw him collapse and fall, Bean said, according to NBC News.

The witness called 911, and emergency responders found Breitbart unconscious, tried to revive him, and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Orson Bean said, according to NBC.

He was declared dead there at 12:19 a.m., according to Craig R. Harvey, chief coroner investigator and chief of operations for the Los Angeles Coroner's Office.

Harvey discussed the plans for attempting to determine Andrew Breitbart's cause of death via e-mail Thursday:

Body not yet examined. No final cause of death yet established by the Coroner, Harvey wrote.

Harvey outlined the time frame for a cause of death determination in a follow-up email:

The exam may take place as soon as Friday, Harvey wrote. Whether or not we have a COD [cause of death] at that time is another story. We may end up waiting for tox.

Tox refers to a full toxicology report, often undertaken when a person dies suddenly to determine whether drugs, alcohol, poisons or other foreign substances were a factor.

A friend of Breitbart told Reuters that he had a history of heart problems and likely suffered a heart attack Thursday.

Joel Pollak, a spokesman for Breitbart's media operation, said in an e-mail Thursday morning that he had no further information about the death.

Breitbart is survived by his wife and four children, and a moving family message was posted on his Web siteThursday morning:

With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart. Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles, the message reads. 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.

Breitbart was the head of a self-made media empire that broke several major stories over the past five years. From his investigations of ACORN and Media Matters to the peak of his fame, which came last year as he took the podium on national television while reporters awaited Rep. Anthony Weiner's tearful resignation, Breitbart had a way of making himself and his work part of the story.

Ever since the early days of Barack Obama's run for president, Breitbart had his hands in the pot. He got Shirley Sherrod forced out of Obama's circle and was constantly working on his next big investigation.

The investigation into the official cause of Breitbart's death continues.