QUINCY -- Quincy native Mike Flynn, a founding editor of Breitbart News, died Thursday night.
His wife, Holly Flynn Pitt-Young, confirmed to Breitbart that Flynn had died unexpectedly. Flynn also is survived by a daughter, Riley Flynn, as well as his parents, John and Alana Flynn of Quincy.
Flynn, 48, was an original editor of Breitbart's Big Government website. He helped roll out the James O'Keefe ACORN sting videos that showed workers at the organization offering encouragement to someone who asked for help in running a prostitution ring.
"Mike was a fighter, first and foremost. Whether he was running for Congress, serving as a (Ted) Cruz delegate, or driving narratives on the pages of Breitbart News, he lived his life to advance the cause of liberty," Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon was quoted as saying on the outlet's website.
Flynn campaigned last year for the congressional seat left vacant when U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock resigned while under investigation. Flynn finished second in a three-man primary race won by Darin LaHood of Dunlap, who went on to win the seat in a special election.
Describing himself as a strongly conservative libertarian, Flynn said the national debt, over-regulation by the government and the need to secure U.S. borders were among the issues Congress needs to address.
A 1985 graduate of Quincy High School, Flynn graduated from the University of Iowa in 1989. He was general manager of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Keokuk, Iowa, until 1992.
He then spent five years working on the staff of the Illinois General Assembly. He worked for the American Legislative Exchange Council from 1997 to 2004, the final five years as director of legislation and policy.
He worked for three years at a lobbying firm and then two years at the Reason Foundation before becoming editor in chief of BigGovernment.com.