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Former MSNBC news anchor and longtime radio host Ed Schultz has died at the age 64. (Photo: MSNBC)

'Large Heart and a Loud Voice': Pro-Labor Radio and TV News Host Ed Schultz Dead at 64

"To American workers, Schultz was a champion and someone they could count on for support."

Jon Queally

Radio host and former MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz has died. He was 64 years old.

According to RT America—where his show "The News with Ed Schultz" airs on weekday evenings—the pro-labor journalist died from natural causes at his home on Thursday.

"We are devastated by the news of the sudden death of our brilliant anchor, one of the best TV-Journalists in America, Ed Schultz," said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

As RT noted in response to the news:

Ed Schultz’s impact on the news industry will be felt for years. His work gave voice to workers and labor unions. To American workers, Schultz was a champion and someone they could count on for support. He spoke inconvenient truths when it came to foreign policy and America’s role in the world. He wanted the United States to be a role model to the world and to its own citizens. He spoke out when he saw his country betraying that ideal. For this he faced constant pressure from the American mainstream news media.

Above all else, Schultz was an individual who created and maintained strong relationships with his viewers and his co-workers. He was universally praised by the hundreds of individuals he interviewed over the years for his ability to ask tough questions, think creatively, and give his opponents the benefit of the doubt. There were few in the news industry as respected as Ed Schultz.

In this segment, titled "MSNBC Ordered Ed Schultz Not To Cover Bernie Sanders, Then Fired Him," from The Young Turks earlier this year, Schultz—though criticized by some for taking a job at RT after his MSNBC departure—can be heard explaining that he faced much more editorial control from higher-ups at the corporate cable outlet than he did at the one owned by the Russian government.

While some of his political positions and on-air commentary could bristle (and sometimes outrage) progressives, including his noxious defense of the U.S. invasion of Libya by the Obama administration in 2011 (see below), Schultz at least was willing to consider views opposed to his own and often covered issues that others in the cable news universe ignored.

As a staunchly pro-worker journalist, Schultz stood out among many of his fellow anchors on cable news and the right-wing personalities that too often dominate the U.S. radio waves. Many journalists and activist voices reacted to the news of his death with expressions of sadness as they remembered a person who spoke from his heart, often against the tide:

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