Political commentator and former MSNBC host Ed Schultz has died at the age of 64.
Schultz died of natural causes in Washington D.C., according to WDAY-TV, the Fargo, North Dakota, the station where Schultz got his start.
RT America, which aired Schultz’s “News with Ed” program, confirmed the news on its website.
“We at RT America are sad to announce the passing of Edward Andrew Schultz. Ed Schultz passed quietly early morning on July 5 at his home in Washington, D.C. This announcement comes as a shock to all of us here at RT America,” said the channel’s official statement.
“We are devastated by the news of the sudden death of our brilliant anchor, one of the best TV-Journalists in America, Ed Schultz,” RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan said.
“The respect that Ed commanded among viewers and among his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic is impossible to overstate. He was an unconditional patriot of his country, an honest man without compromise. When the witch-hunt against RT America began and it was forced to register as a foreign agent, Ed set an example for all of us, saying: ‘Let them call me what they want, I am going to speak the truth no matter what,” she added.
A former Minnesota State University football player, Schultz served as sports director at WDAY from 1988 to 1996, doing play-by-play for college football. He transitioned into political commentary in the ’90s with a number of regional radio broadcasts in the Midwest.
After his political views moved toward the left, Schultz landed his own MSNBC show in 2009. “The Ed Show” debuted on April 6, 2009, and ran for six years in a number of time periods, including both weekdays and weekends. It was canceled in 2015 as part of the network’s transition away from commentary and into breaking news coverage.
The following year, Schultz launched “The News With Ed Schultz” on the Russia-owned TV network RT America.
“I could have retired,” Schultz told WDAY at the time, speaking about the cancellation of his MSNBC program. “That’s not Ed Schultz; I’m not ready to do that. I got a lot of tire left. I have a lot of desire. This gives me a chance to do something that I haven’t had an opportunity to do in my career.”